Jerry “The Bear” Harrington … A Raven

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Moved to North Carolina in 1997 after the Mike Harris government began consolidations/closures of hospitals in Ontario.  My wife is a nurse and was being recruited to the US for several years prior to Harris’s closure of some hospitals.  I had a business in rural Ontario, LaPasse, Ontario, in the heart of white water country on the Ottawa river.  I had sold the business in ’96 because of health issues.  So, I suggested to my wife that we look south to see what opportunities existed.  We targeted Boston (Massachusetts General), Baltimore (Johns Hopkins) and Chapel Hill, NC, the home of the University of North Carolina.  Mary Interviewed at UNC Hospitals (I didn’t like Boston and she didn’t like Baltimore) and was offered a position within 5 minutes of the interview starting.

After her interview, we stood at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Franklin Street (a very famous intersection in the USA to any fans of NCAA basketball and the UNC Tar Heels) and we looked east and west from that corner and one would swear one was standing on Princess Street in Kingston.  So, we made our decision on Chapel Hill.

Mary began work in Surgical Services (her nursing experience was essentially 100% in operating rooms) as a staff nurse and within 5 years was the Nurse Manager of Orthopedics in the Main OR at UNC Hospitals.  She did that for about 4 years and was asked by the Chief of Orthopedics to take over UNC’s Ambulatory Surgical Center which is where all the Sports Medicine work is done.  She accepted that position in about 2005 or 2006 and when she turned that operation around the Hospital/University put $23M into a renovation of her area doubling her OR’s and gave her 12 beds as well as expanding the Pre-op and PACU (in Canada it is known as the Recovery Room)  areas plus a very large central sterile supply department to process/sterilize instrumentation.  When the reno was complete she was promoted to Director, Chief Nursing Officer of the Ambulatory Surgical Center.

I could not work for about 8 months until I received a work permit.  When I received my permit I applied for a job at UNC Hospitals on a Thursday, was interviewed and hired on Friday in the Parking Office at the Hospital.  After a couple of years there I was moved to the Police Department of the Hospital as their Business Manager.  After a couple of years there I moved to the position Of Unit Administrator (Business Manager) of Inpatient Medicine at UNC Hospitals.  After 6 years there I was asked by the Chief Nursing Officer of the Hospital if I would move into the Hospital’s Budget Office to manage the budgets of the Division of Inpatient Nursing.  I’ve been in that position, my current position, for 8 years.  My revenue budget runs at $1.1B  and my expense budget runs in the $575M range.

I was approached by a small private University to teach Healthcare Finance to their MHA/MBA students.  I did that from 2009 to 2011 and left that position because of the timing of the class scheduling for my course.  However, in the summer of 2015 they asked me if they changes the semester when my course was offered would I consider coming back.  So, I am back with them as an adjunct.  I find a sweet irony in the reality that a Canadian teaches Americans about the financial nuances of their healthcare system.

I threw in a couple of pics.  The one with the dog is my son and his wife, the one of the three is my daughter, her fiancé and her son and you have the one of Mary and I with our 10 year old grandson.  As a grandfather yourself, you know the absolute joy those little monsters bring to our lives.  We have only the one and he pretty much rules the roost.  He is incredibly athletic and he is a natural at almost anything he tries to play.  If he puts any effort into it he totally shines.  Right now his sports are hockey and baseball.  But, he was an all-star soccer player and he was into Tai Kwon Do for a while as well.



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    Guy Graveline Written by:

    Married to Karin who I met in 1977 while on 3rd Russell. We have 2 boys, and I am a grandfather with another on the way. Looking forward to getting together with everyone..