Ware comfortable in COO role

Published 4:39 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019

By Jeremy Weldon

Batesville native Chris Ware is settling into his new position as Chief Operating Officer of Panola Medical Center quite well. Although his job title has changed, Ware’s personal goals for the hospital have been the same since he started working at the facility in 2007.

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“I’ve been here 12 years and there have been some changes, but I’ve always the best hospital we can have for my hometown and I still come to work every day with that on my mind,” Ware said. “I want everyone to have the best medical care we can give them, and  if they have a problem I take it personal and do what I can to make it right.”

A 1992 graduate of South Panola High School, Ware attended Northwest Mississippi Community College with a baseball scholarship. He has continued to stay active in Batesville sports programs, serving on the J.P. Hudson Park board of directors several years and heading up the Diamond Club for the SP baseball program most recently.

Ware’s oldest son, Blaine, also had a stellar baseball career at South Panola, graduating with the 2019 class. He is a freshman at Itawamba Community College, also on baseball scholarship.

Both of the Ware’s younger children are on South Panola junior high and high  school athletic teams and wife Sara Helen teaches and coaches the competitive cheer teams. Chris had a new experience over the weekend with South Panola athletics when he was asked to fill in as a sideline reporter for radio broadcast of the Tigers’ game at Yazoo City High School Friday night.

“It was a lot of fun and I hope fans weren’t too disappointed,” Ware said. “I definitely am more comfortable at the hospital than on the radio, but it was a good experience that I won’t forget.”

Ware brushes off concerns about the checkered past of the Batesville hospital, and stresses the present  and future of Panola Medical should be the focus of everyone who understands the importance of locally provided healthcare.

“Every person who reads newspapers and watches news programs is aware that hospitals in rural areas all over the United States are having tough times right now. I get that, but Batesville is not just another rural area, it’s our hometown and working together our county can be the exception,” Ware said.

Panola Medical Center’s employees are the best in the region and are constantly pushing for improvements, Ware said. Several of the service lines offered by the hospital were grown under his guidance in recent years including Sleep Medicine, Wound Care, and Therapy.

Those shining divisions of care locally can be duplicated in other areas, Ware said, because the staff is dedicated to improving the hospital’s services and public perception. Panola Medical’s campus and buildings are among the most modern in the Southeast, especially among cities, like Batesville, with  fewer than 7,500 residents.

“Panola Medical is a small-town hospital for sure, but because of our central location in North Mississippi and being at the crossroads of major highways we serve an area much larger than just Batesville and even Panola County,” Ware said. “That presents both challenges and opportunities for this facility.”

Ware holds a masters degree in hospital administration from Belhaven University. He worked as a respiratory therapist at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis and was director of Clinical Education at Northwest Mississippi Community College transferring to the Batesville hospital as Director of Clinical Services in 2014.

The success of the hospital under the new ownership will be evident as the hospital continues to expand its services and make available a wider range of health care options for local citizens.

“The truth is that patients don’t have to drive to Oxford or Southaven for many of the  procedures and tests that are performed every day at Panola Medical. Our doctors and nurses and all of the staff are uniquely qualified to serve this community and that’s what we’re here for,” Ware said.

Patients with concerns about the hospital, or anyone wanting to learn more about the services offered and what procedures are performed locally,  are welcome to call his office for appointments or to leave a message.

“The hospital is a very busy place, but we will get back with anyone who needs our help  or has questions,” Ware said.