New Florence CEO doesn't let 'the FUD' hold him back

September 30, 2021
Jay and Catherine Hinesley and their children.
Jay Hinesley and his wife Catherine with 6-year-old Eleanor, 10-year-old Ward and 7-year-old Evelyn. Photo provided

The new CEO of MUSC Health’s Florence Division learned early on about “the FUD” from his grandfather. “He would say, ‘Don't be afraid of the FUD.’ And what he meant was don't allow fear, uncertainty and doubt to prevent you from doing something,” Jay Hinesley said.

I've used that for my whole career. There's always fear, uncertainty and doubt when we're doing something new or taking on a challenge or a problem. I firmly believe that not letting that deter me has allowed me to succeed.”

And succeed, he has, serving as CEO at a series of hospitals. That meant moving multiple times with his growing family. Hinesley’s wife, Catherine, is thrilled to be back in her home state of South Carolina. “I've told him I'm not moving again. It got me back close to my parents and this was it for me,” she said.

She called her husband a perfect fit for his new role. He earned his Master of Health Administration degree at the Medical University of South Carolina, so he already had ties to the organization. But more than that, she said, he has what she called the gift of discernment.

“He has such good judgment, such sound judgment, and that's for everything. That's not just for work, but in his personal life too. He’s a very trustworthy guy with a gift of knowing what's right – being able to see the big picture of what's right for everyone.”

Headshot of Jay Hinesley 
“It may be more difficult to do the right thing, but it’s right,” Hinesley says. Photo by John Russell

Hinesley said he learned that growing up. “My family taught me a really robust moral compass, and that tracks well in health care. Doing the right thing is celebrated at MUSC. That’s what motivates me.”

So does helping people in times of crisis. “When people come to the hospital, their life is in chaos, and they are at their most vulnerable state. We have such an incredible opportunity to impact their life by showing them compassion and grace and kindness. It really has a profound impact on people. I take a lot of pride in that.”

Hinesley said he envisions the Florence Division becoming what he called MUSC Health-Charleston 2.0. “We recruited additional specialists to help complement the services that we have here. For instance, we've got a top-tier cardiologist starting next week. We also have an interventional neurologist starting to round out our thrombectomy program.”

The goal is to keep people in the Florence area from having to go to Charleston for acute care when possible. “We can keep a lot more patients in Florence so they can be closer to home, and we can be an extension of the academic medical center. That way, Charleston can focus on the most complex of cases.”

Hinesley said hiring more nurses is also a priority. “The nursing shortage that has been predicted over the last 10 years has come to fruition. I think COVID just exacerbated that.”

When asked how he’d try to sell nurses on coming to Florence, he had a ready answer. “We are a collaborative, collegial patient-safety-minded organization led by captains of industry who want to do the right thing. And if they're interested in taking care of their community and doing the right thing, this is the place to be.”

Catherine Hinesley said adjusting to life in Florence has been easier than any of the family’s previous moves. Their kids – one boy and two girls – have settled right in, and her CEO husband is just Dad around the house. “He's taking our son to soccer in Myrtle Beach this weekend because he makes the time.”

He wants to be the kind of father he had. “When I was growing up, if I was with my father in line at a store, if he received extra change, he made a point to show me that he was giving the change back. There were lots of examples, I guess, of that type of thing.”

Hinesley applies that ethical approach not only to his role as a father – but also as a CEO. The FUD is no excuse. “It may be more difficult to do the right thing, but it’s right.” 

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