“Excellence, compassion, balance, and coaching;” are the words that were echoed in a recent conversation with Scott Street, CEO of the Medical Center of South Arkansas (MCSA). Street has not only led a large team of medical professionals through the COVID-19 pandemic, but he’s also contributed to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Winter COVID-19 Task Force. Despite the weight of carrying this load, Street has remained committed to his family and his faith. Street and his wife, Christine, are members of Immanuel Baptist Church in El Dorado, Arkansas.
Growing up, Street knew that he wanted to work in the healthcare industry. “I knew in the eighth grade that my career path would be to become hospital CEO. It always helps to have good examples to learn from. My uncle was a CEO of a hospital and my dad was a businessman that I respected a great deal. For me, those two career paths merged together. I liked the business side of healthcare and being able to help communities and individuals receive access to quality healthcare.” Now, Street feels like he’s right where he’s supposed to be, leading MCSA and coaching the team of people that surround him.
Street provides leadership for over 700 healthcare professionals who make up the staff at MCSA, an acute-care hospital with a 166-bed capacity. Many of these healthcare professionals are frontline workers who have been fighting the COVID-19 virus since the beginning of the pandemic. Street applauded his staff stating, “I could go on and on praising our frontline workers who have stepped up to take care of our patients and community when they needed us the most.” Street attributed their determination to help others to an organization wide vision of compassionate care and creating a culture of positivity.
Like many hospitals, COVID-19 has radically changed many aspects of their daily operations. Despite these challenges, Street thinks they’ve maintained their momentum in creating a positive patient experience environment. “A year and a half ago, we put a vision in place of being the destination for healthcare in south Arkansas and a key ingredient of this is the experience you create with your patients that come to you. We continue to work on everything we started before the pandemic including expanding healthcare services, enhancing our culture, and our commitment to quality patient care and experiences.”
If leading a staff and hospital through a pandemic was not enough, Street accepted a request to serve on Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Winter COVID-19 Task Force. The task force was formed to create a strategic and collaborative effort from healthcare professionals across the state to combat the increasing infection rate in November of 2020. Street was honored to be chosen for the task force.
“Having the privilege to be on the Governor’s task force has given me insight to what we’re doing across the state, not just here in south Arkansas. I can say without question that I’m really proud of the leadership from the Governor on down, in the way of handling this pandemic.” Recently, the task force has also been focused on distributing the vaccine in an efficient manner.
In all of this, Street faces difficult decisions on a daily basis, challenges of leading and coaching a team that has been on the front lines of fighting the pandemic, and also contributing to the statewide effort of combatting COVID-19. When asked about how he manages and moves forward in this, he reiterated that it’s all about his faith and family. “Personally, my faith is what helps me stay strong and resilient as an imperfect leader trying to lead in a challenging time.”
Healthcare doesn’t take a day off and frequently Street looks to his family to take his mind off work. With adult children scattered across Arkansas, he and his wife are frequently travelling to spend time with them. His youngest son Jacob is a member of the Ouachita Baptist University men’s basketball team. “Watching Jacob play basketball and experience college is really a lot of fun and a positive distraction for me.”
“Healthcare never turns off, it’s 24/7, just like the hospital is,” remarked Street. “We never have everything completed, but at the end of the day it’s about what matters most, providing great patient care.”