In early June, Dr. Michael Kelley arrived in Owensboro to succeed Dr. Wathen Medley as Vice President of Medical Affairs at Owensboro Health.
Kelley comes to Owensboro from the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute in Nashville, where he practiced in cardiology and internal medicine.
Though Kelley is not an Owensboro native, he is no stranger to the community. His wife, Beth Ludwiczak Kelley, was raised in Owensboro and has family in town.
At Owensboro Health, Kelley will spend 20 to 30 percent of his time practicing as a cardiologist and the rest of his time in his administrative role. He says the Vice President of Medical Affairs is a role that allows him to facilitate smooth interactions between providers, patients and administrators, and ultimately ensure that high quality health care is available locally.
Kelley said he believes healthcare leadership offers “the opportunity to impact an entire population of people across the spectrum of involvement.”
“People want to get care close to home and there are many things we can — and do — provide to ensure a safe patient experience,” he said.
Frustrations with the daily practice of clinical medicine were what prompted Kelley to pursue an MBA in healthcare. About 10 years into his practice, he decided he wanted to have “a seat at the table” in order to help make the practice of medicine safer, have a better value, and to combat physician burnout.
“Like any field, you don’t know what you don’t know,” he said.
Quickly into his career he learned that doctors may not always recognize the why to an administrative strategy, but “the business side helps you see a different side of reaching the same goal.”
After finishing his MBA, Kelly created a five-year plan to transition into an administrative position. However, the opportunity to still practice cardiology while also being an administrator was appealing. That, coupled with the connection of his wife’s family “made it hard to say no” to the position at Owensboro Health.
“Sometimes you get a general sense of a place and the culture when you walk in and you need to decide if that is a place you can see yourself, and after careful review, I felt strongly that I could,” he said.
Kelley said he “very much appreciates” Medley, who he said has been “the ultimate old guard role model” and has the transition easy.
“My family and children are settled in and I look forward to adapting to the community and helping create great healthcare,” Kelley said.