The South Carolina Hospital Association named former Beaufort Memorial Board Chairman Jerry Schulze the 2014 Distinguished Hospital Trustee of the Year, capping a dozen years of service that accompanied unprecedented growth of the community hospital.
Schulze was presented with the award — the highest honor given in hospital trustee leadership — at the association’s annual Trustee Administrator and Physician Conference held in September on Hilton Head Island.
“With all the changes occurring today in healthcare, Beaufort Memorial has stayed ahead of the curve,” said Schulze, who stepped down as chairman in March after two six-year terms — the maximum allowed under board bylaws. “It’s a very well-run, sophisticated hospital.”
The prestigious tribute comes on the heels of two other statewide honors for BMH. In January, President and CEO Rick Toomey was elected chairman of the South Carolina Hospital Association’s board of trustees. Then in May, Beaufort Memorial general surgeon Dr. Tim Pearce was installed as president of the South Carolina Medical Association.
“One of the advantages the hospital has is that it can attract top talent because Beaufort is such a desirable place to live,” said Schulze, a retired health care executive who moved to the Lowcountry in 1998. “For a community of our size, we have a tremendous pool of talent.”
Schulze himself boasts an impressive resume that includes stints as vice president and elected corporate officer of Pfizer Inc., and president and CEO of Medeva Americas Inc., a NYSE-listed, London-based pharmaceutical company.
Three years after moving to Beaufort, Schulze was named to the board of Broad River Healthcare, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports Beaufort Memorial. The following year, he joined the hospital’s nine-member board. His fellow board members elected him chairman in 2008.
“For every one of his 12 years on the board, and most especially for his six as chairman, Jerry was unstinting — utterly unstinting — in his efforts on Beaufort Memorial’s behalf,” said BMH President Toomey. “Simply put, he used his prodigious talent, limitless energy and broad experience in the business of health care to make things happen and get things done.”
During Schulze’s tenure, the hospital initiated a wide range of improvements, including a $14.5-million renovation and expansion of the emergency department, construction of a four-story medical and administrative building, purchase of the advanced da Vinci Si Surgical System, state approval to perform life-saving emergency cardiac interventions, and ongoing technological upgrades that have earned the hospital “Most Wired” status 11 years in a row by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.