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New leadership at Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville

For the first time in 15 years, Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville has a new chef at the helm.

Matthew Banks, a registered nurse and Birmingham native, took over as CEO of Crestwood on July 18. Banks was previously CEO of Merit Health Wesley, a 211-bed acute care facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

He replaces Dr. Pam Hudson, whose tenure as CEO began in 2007. Prior to serving as CEO of the full-service acute care hospital, Dr. Hudson served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Crestwood , chief medical officer (CMO) and had been an emergency physician for several years.

As he steps into the role of CEO of Crestwood, Banks is working closely with Dr. Hudson, who takes on a new leadership role focused on physician initiatives at the 180-bed hospital.

I’m grateful that she continues to be a part of our team,” Banks said. “She will help us keep pace with Huntsville’s growth and meet the needs of our community.

Previous experience

Prior to Merit Health Wesley, Banks was CEO of Davis Regional Medical Center in Statesville, North Carolina; chief operating officer at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, North Carolina; and Chief Operating Officer/Nurse and Interim CEO of Stringfellow Memorial Hospital in Anniston.

Banks holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Health Services Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also earned an associate degree in nursing from the University of Troy.

With exceptional leadership skills and experience in hospital management, Banks said he was honored to join the Crestwood team given his history in the medical field.

“The week I turned 18, I was working as a paramedic in an emergency department,” he said. “I went to nursing school and grew to become head nurse and then rose to CEO about eight years ago.”

Hospital Growth

During his tenure as CEO of Crestwood, Dr. Hudson oversaw the hospital’s phenomenal growth.

Some of Crestwood’s milestones include:

  • A new 60-bed patient tower
  • Expansion of the emergency department by 17 beds
  • The recruitment of 80 primary care physicians and key specialties
  • The addition of 10 primary care clinics in the community
  • One fully private room, 10-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Ambulatory Services in Madison and North Madison County

With 1,200 employees and a total annual payroll of $83.6 million, Crestwood invested $12.2 million in capital projects in 2021. The hospital is also a good community partner, contributing $14.2 million in property and sales taxes and $137.7 million in unpaid charities are for the uninsured and underinsured in the Crestwood service area.

Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, Dr. Hudson said Crestwood weathered the storm well.

“COVID has tested everyone, but that’s exactly where hospitals needed to be,” she said. “Leading the charge to get our community through this.

Look forward

Crestwood recruits 10 to 15 new physicians each year. To meet the growing needs of the population of Huntsville, Dr. Hudson will work closely with established physicians, develop candidates and new physicians who are just starting their practice.

In April 2020, Karen Stephens, a registered nurse at Crestwood Medical Center, helped a COVID-19 patient FaceTime her husband, who also had COVID and was in another hospital. Through an iPad screen, the couple shared smiles, tears and the words, “I love you.”

The pandemic has accelerated a change in health care, which has undoubtedly affected Huntsville.

“There’s a lot of stuff we’re going through right now that probably would have taken 5-10 years to blend into the pre-COVID healthcare landscape,” Dr. Hudson said. “It’s a challenge, especially for our independent doctors who run businesses, pay taxes and support their staff.

“We try to be a great partner with them as we try to keep up with the growth of the community by expanding services and creating new opportunities together with our physicians.”

With his experience, Banks is grateful to have helped write Crestwood’s next chapter and to have Dr. Hudson as an ally and colleague.

“Having us both here really accelerates our opportunities as Huntsville and the area grows by leaps and bounds,” he said. “I always look within to make sure the level of care we provide at the hospital is second to none. Thanks to Dr. Hudson’s leadership, the foundations here at the hospital and what we have been able to accomplish are very solid.