Photo: Judy Wooten
Arkansas Hospice President & CEO Judy Wooten has received the 2020 ACHE Regent’s Award for Senior Level Healthcare Executive. The recognition is given by the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society of more than 48,000 leaders who oversee hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations.
The award recognizes an Arkansas senior-level healthcare executive who has displayed innovative and creative management skills, contributed to the development of others in the healthcare profession, demonstrated leadership in local and state hospital and health association activities, and participated in community activities and projects.
Wooten is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is active in its local chapter, the Arkansas Health Executives Forum. She is also a certified hospice administrator.
She joined Arkansas Hospice, the state’s largest non-profit provider of hospice services, as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2002, and was named President and Chief Executive Officer in 2011. In addition, Wooten currently serves as President of the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Arkansas and was elected to the board of directors for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in 2019.
Wooten was nominated for the award by Beth Ingram, Chair-Emeritus of the Arkansas Hospice governing board, who served as interim executive director of the Arkansas Hospice Foundation from March through December 2020. Ingram described Wooten in a Nov. 11 letter by saying, “I have observed her professional, but caring nature for our patients and for each and every one of our 400+ employees across the state.”
“Her educational knowledge of state and government regulations is unsurpassed, and her leadership skills are highly praised by our board of directors. During the past eight months of COVID-19, she has shown unfathomable concern as most all non-clinical employees are working from home. She’s made sure we all have the appropriate equipment to perform our duties and has assured clinical staff has the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and other technical tools to make sure they and their patients are safe.” Arkansas Hospice was named a “Best Place to Work” by Arkansas Business in 2020.
Wooten was also instrumental in influencing the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management to allocate a portion of its PPE supply to hospice care providers throughout Arkansas.
In addition, Wooten was inspired to introduce the “Cards of Kindness” program to Arkansas Hospice, that has placed more than a thousand greeting cards in the hands of Arkansans residing in long-term care facilities who are isolated due to COVID 19 related visitation restrictions.
As part of Arkansas Hospice’s goal to help Arkansans live better in every season of life, Wooten also spearheaded the organization’s “Cans of Kindness” food drive, Ingram said. “Judy shares deep concern for the food insecurity issues in our state caused by skyrocketing unemployment and homelessness,” Ingram wrote. “It was her idea for Arkansas Hospice to partner with the Arkansas Food Bank and other food banks throughout the state for our employees to contribute canned food and monetary donations through the month of November to help with this crisis.” As an extension of “Cans of Kindness” the Arkansas Hospice Foundation also assisted patients and families experiencing food insecurity through its “Gifts of Kindness” program.
Wooten said she was honored to receive the award, especially during a year consumed by a worldwide pandemic.
“I am deeply humbled by this recognition and share it with all our wonderful Arkansas Hospice employees who have gone above and beyond to bring comfort and peace to our patients and families, and support to our communities, during this difficult year,” Wooten said. “Put simply, we are Arkansans helping Arkansans. While 2020 put us to the test, it also deepened our commitment to each other and to our mission, so I am proud and grateful to be a part of such a caring organization.”
About Arkansas Hospice
Celebrating more than 29 years of service, Arkansas Hospice’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for those facing serious illness and loss by surrounding them with love and embracing them with the best in physical, emotional and spiritual care. The hospice care provider is the recipient of numerous local, state and national awards, as well as numerous other awards for quality of care, including Hospice Honors Elite from HEALTHCAREfirst, as well as the only hospice in Arkansas to be certified by the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs for nonprofit service to Arkansas’ veteran population. For more information, visit https://www.arkansashospice.org