Stephen J. Lawler was placed as the president of the North Carolina Hospital Association in Raleigh. The NCHA, created in 1918, represents more than 130 hospitals providing acute, rehabilitative, behavioral, and psychiatric care, as well as veterans' services, promoting improved delivery of quality and affordable health care in North Carolina through leadership, advocacy, information, and education. In addition to its hallmark North Carolina Center for Hospital Quality and Patient Safety, the NCHA collaborates with Dartmouth Institute on the High Performance Health System Collaborative, which has a primary objective of advancing North Carolina-based health systems to a higher state of readiness for state and federal healthcare law changes. NCHA also tracks healthcare trends through its comprehensive Patient Data System and its Advocacy Needs Data Initiative, and helps hospital leaders and community members develop and enhance relationships with their elected officials by encouraging communication and personal participation in government through the HOSPAC political action committee. NCHA's education programs target all levels of hospital administrative staff, and cover the most current healthcare issues. In his role as the chief executive officer of the association, Steve will be responsible for the effective conduct of its affairs, as well as those of its related organizations (i.e. North Carolina Hospital Enterprises, North Carolina Hospital Foundation, and the political action committee). He will recommend and participate in the formulation of mission, goals, objectives, and related policies, as well as planning, organizing, coordinating, directing, and evaluating activities, programs, services, and team members. The president serves as one of the board's key strategists and strategic advisors; is responsible for the overall direction of policy development and advocacy for the NCHA; supports the financial growth of the NCHA by working to develop and implement alternate sources of revenue, increase membership, and identify and pursue opportunities to develop new revenue-generating programs; implements and administers the NCHA budget effectively; initiates, develops, and contributes to advancing the NCHA's alliances; directs the association's promotion, publicity, and public relations activities; and improves and increases the services the NCHA provides to its members.
Before joining the NCHA, Steve served in a dual role for Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte – as the senior vice president for the CHS Regional Group, and as the senior vice president for overall system development. Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) is one of the leading healthcare organizations in the Southeast, and one of the most comprehensive not-for-profit systems in the country, encompassing more than 7,600 licensed beds, employing nearly 60,000 people, and accounting for almost 12 million patient interactions each year. The first piece of Steve's role involved providing operational support and oversight to the 27 hospitals that make up the CHS Regional Group, an assembly of systems within which he built relationships and coalitions. The second piece of his role involved designing the growth strategy around CHS's plan for increased alignment and an expanded footprint, which included traditional M&A arrangements, as well as seeking management partners and strategic partners. Steve was one of the key stakeholders in developing and cultivating the organization's growth plan, nurturing relationships, and finding ways to create shared value.
Previously, Steve had a successful career of more than 20 years with Vidant Health in Greenville, North Carolina. After serving as the president and CEO of Roanoke-Chowan Medical Practices, Inc., he became a vice president for University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, with accountability for the system's PSO and PHO. He then entered hospital management, first as the president of Bertie Memorial Hospital, and then as the vice president of clinical services and the Heart Center for Pitt County Memorial. Steve next served as the chief administrative officer for University Health Systems and president of East Carolina Health before being promoted to the role of president at Vidant Medical Center, which he held for over seven years.
Steve grew up in Greenville, North Carolina. He earned his bachelor's degree in education from The Citadel and his MBA from Georgia Southern University. Steve is a military veteran with 23 years of highly decorated service as a medical service corps officer in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve. He is also a nationally recognized speaker on quality, leadership, and health system development. Steve and his wife are the parents of two grown children. Outside of work, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and golfing.