Joanie Perkins serves as the Chief Compliance Officer at North Sunflower Medical Center, a critical access hospital in Ruleville, Mississippi. Her love for medicine stemmed from her mother, who worked as an emergency room registered nurse in Dayton, Ohio, and would come home and tell her children stories about what had transpired throughout her day. This sparked a love of medicine in Joanie and her 10 brothers and sisters, about half of which went into medicine themselves.
“Once I learned about the special nuances of rural healthcare and how important it was, especially across the heartland in the Midwest, I was hooked.”
Joanie has focused on rural health for the past 20 years, specializing in rural health clinics and critical access hospitals, and she has worked in healthcare management for 37 years. She formed J.P. Consulting in 1987, an organization specializing in outpatient billing and clinic start-ups. As the need for rural consulting grew, Joanie divided the business off, and now acts as the principal consultant for J.P. Consulting, working with clinics and critical access hospitals nationwide.
Joanie serves rural areas by participating in the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Congress, the primary care Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) committee and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rural focus committee.
She has presented as a rural expert on multiple subjects at the NRHA, the National Rural Health Clinic Association, the New England Rural Roundtable Conference and several state rural associations. She is a past board member and president of the Mississippi Rural Health Association, and has enjoyed facilitating a series of workshops for rural health clinics across the state of Mississippi.
Dr. Mark Hamed serves as Medical Director of the Departments of Emergency and Hospitalist Medicine at McKenzie Health System, a critical access hospital in Sandusky, Michigan. He made a huge impact on the local community when he spearheaded an “Oxy-Free” ED initiative in 2013 to combat the opiate abuse epidemic.
“You have to have a vision and a passion for what you believe in.”
Dr. Hamed serves as a faculty member at three medical schools, including Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and Wayne State University.
Raised in Metro Detroit, he attended the University of Michigan, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-Medical Biology and Health Policy Studies. He then went on to complete his Doctor of Medicine (MD), while simultaneously earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a focus in Healthcare Management.
He completed his residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and, while he is still employed there, has decided to direct the majority of his focus toward the McKenzie Health System after gaining a great respect for the hardworking community members of the Sandusky area.
Gordon Bonnyman is co-founder of the Tennessee Justice Center, a non-profit public interest law firm serving vulnerable Tennesseans in cases involving healthcare and individual clients, many of whom reside in rural areas. Gordon has represented thousands of individual clients, and has written and lectured extensively on health policy. He has testified before Congress, argued before the Supreme Court and advised governors and legislators in several states concerning issues of health access and healthcare financing.
“It’s been a tremendous privilege to serve families that deal with just terrible misfortune, and in many cases, injustice. And the clients I serve have impressed me with their courage and their generosity of spirit, and it’s just been a great blessing. I feel like I get more from it than I put into it.”
Prior to co-founding Tennessee Justice Center, Gordon began working with the Legal Aid Society in Nashville, and has been practicing law since 1972. The Tennessee Justice Center stemmed from a Congressional action 21 years ago that prevented organizations who receive federal funding, such as the Legal Aid Society, from doing several things, including class action lawsuits or advocating on behalf of migrant workers or others who receive public assistance. This action left many vulnerable people, many of whom reside in rural America, without legal representation. As a result, the privately funded Tennessee Justice Center, along with several other independent firms throughout the country, were founded to support vulnerable populations and hold public institutions accountable.
Craig Webb is Chairman of the governing board of Kirby Medical Center, a 16-bed critical access hospital in Monticello, Illinois. Craig is originally from Springfield, Illinois, and has an extensive background in retail, holding many positions including management, marketing and ownership. Currently, Craig works in engineering, and has been on the board of Kirby Medical Center since 1993, when he was asked to join when another board member retired. He has held the role of Chairman for the past three years.
“The thing that we look forward to is people taking charge of their own healthcare, and we can help them do that.”
Kirby Hospital was originally built in 1941 when locals John and Mary Kirby left money and property to build a medical facility. It first started in an old mansion, and the new Kirby Medical Center was built in 2011. Today it is the smallest critical hospital in the state of Illinois, with two successful satellite clinics in Atwood and Cerro Gordo, Illinois.