The Dialogue with Jim Decker

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 47th installment visiting with Jim Decker, chief executive officer at MEDIC Regional Blood Center which collects, processes, and distributes blood and blood-related products to all of the 28 hospitals in a 23-county area.
 
How did MEDIC begin? MEDIC was created in 1958 through the support of the hospitals in Knox County and the Knoxville Academy of Medicine. It has grown since then to encompass all hospitals in a 23-county service area.
 
What is your background? I have over 35 years of experience in the healthcare field, mostly as a hospital executive. My formal education and training includes a B.S. in microbiology and a masters degree in hospital and health administration. I also hold a doctorate in health administration.
 
Describe your customers. We have two main customer groups. The first group would be the dedicated volunteer donors who take time out of their day to donate blood at one of our fixed sites or mobile blood drives. Another customer group would be the 28 hospitals within our 23-county service area for which we supply blood and blood-related products.
 
What impacts MEDIC? We operate in a very highly regulated industry. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating the collection of blood; therefore, all of our processes and procedures must be done in accordance with FDA standards. We deal with the same economic pressures that other businesses face, as well as dealing with the fast-paced changes occurring in the healthcare industry.
 
Name three things you wish you knew when you started. 1. The "behind the scenes" manufacturing activities that are necessary to provide blood to hospitals. 2. The challenges that are present in terms of recruiting blood donors. 3. The volatility of blood usage as a function of medical and economic factors.
 
What do you enjoy about working at MEDIC? The industry is continually in a state of change. Much of this change is driven by the changes occurring in the broader health care industry. Never a dull moment.