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Veterans Day 2021: a salute to HCA Healthcare colleagues who have served

2021 Veterans Day Social Graphic - Horizontal(2021111194027163)

This Veterans Day, HCA Healthcare expresses our immense gratitude for the selfless sacrifices of all those who have served or are actively serving, as well as family members of our armed forces. Thank you for your service and for the ways you continue to serve HCA Healthcare’s patients.

Throughout HCA Healthcare’s history, our military colleagues have always been an important part of our story. Two of our founders, Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr. and Dr. Thomas Frist, Jr. served in the United States Army and Air Force. We are proud to be nationally recognized as a military friendly and military spouse friendly employer for 11 consecutive years, including this year’s recognition by Military Times as a Best for Vets employer for the second consecutive year. 

  • Since 2012, more than 40,000 veterans, active duty service members and military spouses have joined our organization.
  • In August 2021, HCA Healthcare – Grand Strand Medical Center received the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their outstanding support of Guard and Reserve employees.
  • And, as a founding coalition member and partner of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign, we have committed to hiring 1,100 military spouses in 2021.

Our support of our military community also includes:

  • A mentoring program for veterans and military spouses, which has been successful in helping recently transitioned veterans navigate the civilian workforce.
  • A Veterans Colleague Network to facilitate connection, collaboration, and celebration among colleagues.

Earlier this week, we hosted a BRAVE Conversations program honoring our veterans. During the program, we honored the late Avery King, an Air Force veteran who was instrumental in leading the Military Affairs Program at HCA Healthcare. We also announced that we are tripling our annual Veterans Day gift this year to $150,000 across four organizations. Since 2014, HCA Healthcare has contributed over $1.6 million to organizations that support our veterans and their families.

We talked with four colleagues about why they are proud to work for HCA Healthcare and how their military values contribute to our mission: Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.

“Service before self ― we are in a service environment and we need to take care of our patients.”

Ed Medina, vice president of transplant services at HCA Healthcare’s Tulane Medical Center (New Orleans, La.)
Ed Medina, vice president of transplant services at HCA Healthcare’s Tulane Medical Center

Ed Medina, vice president of transplant services for HCA Healthcare’s Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, was born in Cuba and his family came to the U.S. when he was 6 years old. “Growing up, I always heard from my family how grateful we should be because we are living in the U.S.,” says Ed.

His appreciation of being in America instilled in him the need to give back. “My way of giving back was by joining the U.S. Air Force,” Ed says, but he adds that he did everything backward. “I went to undergrad and grad school on my own – and then I was a husband with a child when I decided to join the military. I always felt there was a calling. I asked ‘my boss,’ my wife, and she was so supportive.”

“My career field was a registered nurse, and I served as the chief nursing officer for my medical squad,” adds Ed.

“The core values of the Air Force have served me wonderfully at HCA Healthcare. Integrity first – always have it in decision making. Service before self ― we are in a service environment and we need to take care of our patients. Excellence in all you do – we strive for it here in transplant services. We are on track to transplant 150 organs this year.”

He also takes great pride in giving back to others. “The number of officers and enlisted personnel that I have helped with development is truly the biggest honor and biggest payback.”

HCA Healthcare colleague and Air Force veteran Ed Medina (top row, right) pictured with Tulane Medical Center’s transplant team.

“The military was a really solid base for teamwork. Your team is your family – that is one of the reasons I have stayed with HCA Healthcare so long.

Lisa Thiessen, ICU manager at Sky Ridge Medical Center (Lone Tree, Colo.)
Lisa Thiessen, ICU manager at HCA Healthcare’s Sky Ridge Medical Center

“I was a month from graduating college and getting my nursing degree when the U.S. Army National Guard activated me for Operation Desert Storm. I wasn’t able to finish, so I had to go as a medic, not a nurse,” says Lisa Thiessen, ICU manager at HCA Healthcare’s Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado. “We took care of Iraqi refugees, small children, people who were wounded in shootings.”

Six months later when she returned from Iraq, she took her boards and became a registered nurse. She served six years in the U.S. Army National Guard and then joined HCA Healthcare. Her first job was at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

HCA Healthcare nurse Lisa Thiessen served in her hospital’s ICU during the pandemic.

“I began in the acute rehab unit. Then I moved to the ICU and fell in love with it,” said Lisa who has been employed at HCA Healthcare for 29 years. “It has always been a really good company to work for with great benefits.”

Lisa was recently promoted to lead the intensive care unit (ICU). “When COVID-19 hit, things got really hard – I thought, ‘I want to be part of the solution.’” Lisa is splitting her time between day and night shifts. “I want our team to feel supported – if they have a suggestion, we want to hear it.”

“The military was a really solid base for teamwork. Your team is your family – that is one of the reasons I have stayed with HCA Healthcare so long. I am not going to give up on my family – this team is a big part of my life.”

“The impact of HCA Healthcare on the community and the incredible leadership impressed me.”

Taylor Flowers, EMS director at Johnston-Willis Hospital (Richmond, Va.)
Taylor Flowers, EMS director at HCA Healthcare’s Johnston-Willis Hospital

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred while Taylor Flowers was in college, prompting him to put his education on hold and enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. He did a tour in Afghanistan in 2003 where he was a part of the protective military detail for the president of Afghanistan. “It was a pretty neat experience,” Taylor recalls. Taylor also experienced heartache while in the Marines losing one of his best friends to an enemy sniper.

Taylor went on to become a scout sniper leader for the Marines in Fallujah during his final deployment. He decided not to reenlist in 2007, but after a year joined the reserves and went on training missions to South Africa. When his twin boys were born, he focused on staying closer to home to be near his family. Taylor spent the next 11 years serving as a firefighter in Virginia, finished his bachelor’s degree and earned a master’s degree in emergency management.

A friend who worked at HCA Healthcare told him about an EMS director job opening. “The impact of HCA Healthcare on the community and the incredible leadership impressed me,” said Taylor.

Two years later, Taylor couldn’t be happier with his decision to join HCA Healthcare family as an EMS director at HCA Healthcare’s Johnston-Willis Hospital  in Richmond, Virginia. “COVID-19 hit right after I started and I gained so much insight with the clinical staff and administration. We got to do so much to help our communities with vaccines, logistics, supplies and PPE. I was able to have an immediate impact on the same group I just left – EMS, fire departments and, most of all, patients.”

EMS Director Taylor Flowers (right) blazed his way through the Marine Corps ranks before joining HCA Healthcare.

“Being able to help our colleagues as they care for our patients is very rewarding.”

Mike Hoyt, administrative director for cardiovascular services at Research Medical Center (Kansas City, Mo.)
Mike Hoyt, administrative director for cardiovascular services at Research Medical Center

Mike Hoyt always looks forward to the annual Veterans Day celebration at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. “HCA Healthcare gives us challenge coins, which are a huge deal in the military,” Mike says. “I like that you get to meet other veterans. It is always interesting to hear where they served and what they did.”

Mike wanted to find a role that matched his business degree and focused his U.S. Air Force specialty on acquisition management. “The military offers so many educational opportunities. In five years, I got three promotions and tuition assistance to get a master’s degree in healthcare administration and my MBA. All of it prepared me for leadership opportunities with HCA Healthcare.”

Now, Mike serves as an administrative director for cardiovascular services at Research Medical Center.

“Being able to help our colleagues as they care for our patients is very rewarding. The support the hospital provides to the cardiology department is incredible. My leadership team is the best I have ever worked for,” says Mike.

“I would tell anyone in a military leadership position considering going into healthcare – a hospital is very much the same dynamic. You have to be nimble and execute on the fly. Everything changes so fast – you never know what you will be doing. You can build a whole different toolbox of skills.”

HCA Healthcare colleague and veteran Mike Hoyt (left) at an electrophysiology lab ribbon cutting ceremony.

We salute those veterans who have relaunched their careers with HCA Healthcare, along with all of those who have served our country.

Thank you for your service.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 186 hospitals and more than 2,000 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our approximately 275,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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