NEWPORT — Robert Rupp, chief executive officer for Harris Hospital in Newport, may be relatively new to the area, but he’s doing what he can to get involved with his community. He was elected to the Arkansas Hospital Association Board of Directors in October.
“They’re the association that voices concerns to the [state] Legislature, to the Capitol,” Rupp said. “They’re the lobbyists who go out and work with the Legislature to make sure hospitals aren’t getting cut too badly on reimbursements.”
Rupp was elected to the board as the alternate delegate to the American Hospital Association’s regional policy board.
“The regional policy board meets about three times a year,” he said. “I don’t think we have our first meeting until some time in April.”
When Rupp got the CEO position at Harris Hospital, he said he was looking for a way to get involved with the area.
“I was trying to get plugged into the hospital network here in the state. I had attended the meetings that the Arkansas Hospital Association had put on,” he said.
“I met Bo Ryall (CEO and president of the association), and he asked me if I’d be interested in getting involved with [the Arkansas Hospital Association], and I wanted to help in any way I could. He asked me if I would be interested in trying to get on the board, and I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Rupp said representatives have to be elected to the board.
“This is a part of the career that I’ve not really gotten into. It’ll be an eye-opening experience for me to see how things get pushed through our Legislature, and I’ll be working with some great people in the state of Arkansas and across our nation. It’ll be interesting.”
Rupp, who has been with Harris Hospital for a little more than two years, said he’s enjoyed his time in Newport so far. Before coming to Newport, he worked at Cleveland Regional Medical Center in Cleveland, Texas.
“We enjoy Newport. My wife and I have found it to be a very welcoming community,” Rupp said. “We’ve really enjoyed the short stay we’ve been here, and we hope to stay for a while.”
Before going into hospital administration, Rupp spent 21 years in the U.S. Air Force.
“I was a medic in the Air Force and spent most of my time in hospital operations, and I got into radiology for a while,” he said. “I still have an X-ray license today.”
Rupp said he looks forward to working with the associations on the state and national level as a part of the regional policy board.
“The [Arkansas Hospital Association] assists us with resources, education and up-to-date information on the changing landscape of health care,” Rupp said in news release. “They build relationships that bring all the hospitals together, addressing our concerns as ‘one voice.’”