For his accomplishments, Voisin, 57, has been chosen as the 2011 Trustee of the Year for a large hospital—those with 100 beds or more.
Voisin's first order of business in 1998: Restore order to the work of the commissioners.
How? “He has a very respectful way of communication. I have never seen him yell, scream or holler or be aggressive in any way,” says Phyllis Peoples, Terrebonne's president and CEO.
In addition, Voisin already had a reputation as a successful businessman. He is a seventh-generation oyster farmer who is the CEO of his family's business, Motivatit Seafoods.
At Terrebonne General, Voisin emphasizes the importance of following rules. He insists that fellow board members read their agenda packets and seek answers to detailed questions before the meetings. He also expects them to attend committee meetings.
During meetings of the full board, “People will get real excited sometimes in a debate or a conversation,” Peoples says. “Mike will say, 'I appreciate your thought process. I respect it. Let's take that into consideration, but let's hear the other side.' ”
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As a result of his efforts, the board now meets monthly instead of twice a month, and the average length of each meeting is between one and half hours and two hours.
The structured approach paid dividends when the commissioners voted in 2004 to close 40-bed Bayou Oaks Hospital, an inpatient psychiatric facility in Houma that Terrebonne took over in 1999 after the company that had leased the space left. The decision to close the facility was made because Terrebonne General had lost between $1.5 million and $2 million annually on operations at Bayou Oaks since 1999. In addition, the facility required a $5 million renovation to meet accreditation standards.
“That was the most challenging decision of all my time on the board. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place,” Voisin says, recalling the meeting in which commissioners voted to close Bayou Oaks.
However, Voisin says their decision paved the way for expansions in other much-needed clinical areas, such as:
- A $20 million, 85,000-square-foot, 50-bed women's center, which opened in May 2006. It houses obstetrical and gynecological services as well as a neonatal intensive-care unit.
- A $10 million outpatient cardiovascular clinic.<.li>
- A 49,000-square-foot outpatient cancer center, slated to open in July. The facility is a joint venture among Terrebonne General; Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center that operates multiple sites in Louisiana; and Cancer Care Specialists, a medical oncology group.
Voisin sums up the hospital's recent history simply: “One of my favorite philosophies has always been: You are either growing or dying. If you are growing that means you are expanding and supporting the community. If you are not growing, you are headed the other way. We have been a growing institution.”