WASHINGTON (December 13, 2018) – The American Hospital Association (AHA) today announced Ronald (“Ronnie”) Sloan, president of The Outer Banks Hospital in Nags Head, N.C. as the 2018 recipient of the Rural Hospital Leadership Award. The award recognizes small or rural hospital leaders who guide their hospital and community through transformational change on the road to healthcare reform and display outstanding leadership and commitment to improving health and health coverage, and making care more affordable. The award will be presented at the AHA’s 32nd Rural Health Care Leadership Conference, February 3-6, 2019 in Phoenix.

Rural hospitals have shown tremendous resilience as they continuously confront challenges that threaten their ability to ensure local access to care. Leaders like Ronnie Sloan demonstrate the innovative leadership, responsiveness, and collaboration necessary to sustainably support the communities rural hospitals serve.

In June 2011, Sloan joined The Outer Banks Hospital, where he transformed the hospital into a robust, full service, community hospital serving a coastal community with a population of 35,000, beyond its 250,000 summer population. Under his leadership, The Outer Banks Medical Group was created in 2016 to form nine primary/specialty practices—practices aimed at fostering a seamless care experience for patients.

Sloan’s active participation in the first Community Health Needs Assessment and action planning with the local health department served as a driver of significant community health accomplishments. Accomplishments such as North Carolina’s first “dementia-friendly” hospital—a designation awarded by the North Carolina Department of Aging. Further, in partnership with community stakeholders and physician leaders, Sloan took early action in 2012 to address the coastal community’s opioid crisis before the national crisis would grow to claim 130 lives every day. In addition, in 2015, Sloan’s hiring of personnel to oversee the hospital’s lung cancer screening efforts has led to screening of nearly 400 local residents for lung cancer, with nearly ten cancers found at the curative stage—a meaningful shift from late stage detection. His focus on population health also led to the hospital’s first Department of Community Outreach.

When the county government faced challenges related to rising healthcare costs, The Outer Banks Hospital under Sloan’s leadership won the bid to provide a comprehensive wellness program for nearly 800 employees. The program resulted in a 13 percent reduction in high cholesterol, a 23 percent reduction in diabetes, a 26 percent reduction in tobacco use, and an 11 percent increase in mammograms. The total medical amount paid for health plan participants decreased by 11 percent and the program’s across-the-board success led to the addition of retirees to the program.

The Rural Hospital Leadership Award also recognized Jeff Tindle, CEO of Carroll County Memorial Hospital in Carrollton, Mo., as a finalist for his efforts to improve healthcare delivery in his community.

Tindle joined the Carroll County Memorial Hospital team in 2007, prior to becoming CEO in 2012. The rural hospital serves 12,000 residents of Carroll County, and under Tindle’s leadership, transformed services to provide the community for the first time with needed access to outpatient surgery, outpatient clinic facilities, and primary care provider clinics. Carroll County Memorial Hospital is the county’s largest employer, and these new services have allowed for the hospital to better serve the community in a sustainable way that responds to the changing landscape of healthcare. Tindle’s strategic partnerships have also earned Carroll County Memorial Hospital recognition for early adoption electronic health records.

Today, nearly 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas and depend on their hospitals as important, and often only, sources of care in their communities. Ronnie Sloan and Jeff Tindle’s dynamic leadership highlight the many ways in which hospitals and health systems continue to reach beyond their four walls to meet the needs of their communities in innovative ways.

About the American Hospital Association
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of healthcare provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, healthcare systems, networks and other providers of care. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for healthcare leaders and is a source of information on healthcare issues and trends. For more information, visit