Posted by: thepinetree on 02/13/2017 08:15 PM
Updated by: thepinetree on 02/14/2017 07:11 AM
Expires: 01/01/2022 12:00 AM
Meet Dr. Lonnie Smith Chief Medical Officer for Mark Twain Medical Center
San Andreas, CA...Patient convenience and satisfaction are critical goals for Dr. Lonnie Smith, the new Chief Medical Officer at Mark Twain Medical Center. Dr. Smith joined the MTMC Leadership Team in November with responsibilities that include overseeing operations of the hospital’s five Rural Health Clinics and three Specialty Care Centers. Clinic administration is just one of Dr. Smith’s multiple roles as CMO. He is also the senior physician executive working with the administrative team and medical staff to recruit and retain doctors, contract for specialty services, oversee several departments including Physical Therapy, X-Ray, Laboratory – and more. The clinics began serving local communities over 20 years ago and have been a major focus in Dr. Smith’s first months at MTMC.
Dr. Lonnie Smith, Michelle Epperson,RN and Leonard Neuman,RN
“These clinics are unprecedented health care resources for a rural community,” he explains. “We are fine tuning existing services and working to expand clinic options. We want our clinics to be the first thing residents think about when they need medical attention.”
“We are enhancing the primary care aspect of the clinics, an option many residents now seem to overlook,” Dr. Smith says. “The clinics are there to handle walk-in patients for sure, and we often find folks are much sicker than they realize because they have not seen a primary care physician for a long time – or maybe, never.”
“My mission is to make our Rural Health Clinics the medical ‘home’ for residents, where they regularly connect with a primary care physician for preventative care and to manage chronic diseases. The clinics can provide testing, and when needed, referral to a specialist. Our Cancer Center, Heart Center and Orthopedic Center provide state-of-the art specialty care close to home. That is essential since travel to the valley is inconvenient and stressful for anyone meeting the challenges of cancer, heart issues or orthopedic surgery.”
Dr. Smith is assisted in his clinic oversight role by Leonard Neuman, R.N., and Michelle Epperson, R.N. “I am blessed they were both here when I arrived,” he says. The two have shared clinic supervision duties since March 2016.
“We make rounds,” Neuman explains, “visiting each clinic on a regular basis, checking in with staff and
talking to folks in the waiting rooms. It’s important that we interact with people and get to know what
they are experiencing and what we can do to improve our services.”
Neuman has been a Valley Springs resident for 26 years and previously commuted to Stockton to work at
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Stockton Cardiology. Epperson has been with Dignity Health for 17 years and
has worked in multiple specialty areas. She practiced at UCD Medical Center prior to coming to Dignity
Health. Her last role, prior to joining the MTMC team, was Director of Folsom Sierra Endoscopy in
Folsom. She currently lives in El Dorado.
The two split responsibilities for the MTMC clinics and staff totaling over 30 people. Neuman supervises
the operations in San Andreas and Valley Springs, along with the Cancer and Heart Centers on the
MTMC campus. Epperson oversees the clinics along the Highway 4 corridor Arnold, Angels Camp and
Copperopolis, as well as the Orthopedic Clinic in Angels Camp.
Dr. Smith has been practicing medicine for over 28 years and came to MTMC from Tulare, where he
most recently served in operations management, supervising over 220 medical staff and recruitment for a
120-bed medical complex. He was Medical Director for the Sleep Disorders Lab and Chief of Surgery
and Chief of Staff at Tulare Regional Medical Center, Board Chair of the Tulare Healthcare District and
President of the Tulare County Medical Society. He received his Doctor of Medicine from the University
of California Los Angeles and is a Certified Physician Executive, with a Master of Medical Management
from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
Dr. Smith is well-known for his community service in Tulare, including years as a high school football
coach and Regional Commissioner of the American Youth Soccer Organization. He and his wife Nena, a
nurse, have moved to a new home in Copperopolis. They have four adult children.
“My kids were little when we moved to Tulare 22 years ago,” he explains. “I was then working all the
time at a Level One Trauma Center in San Bernardino and never was home. I wanted to spend more time
with my family, so we moved to Tulare and I went into private practice.” Dr. Smith is Board Certified in
Otolaryngology and Sleep Medicine.
Dr. Smith says his move to Calaveras County was inspired by the people he met when he visited the area
for the first time for his CMO interview. “The people are what attracted me,” he notes. “It is a great team
and I’m grateful to now be part of it.”
About Mark Twain Medical Center
Founded in 1951, Mark Twain Medical Center is a 25-bed, Critical Access Hospital providing inpatient
acute care, outpatient services and emergency services. The Medical Center’s Medical Staff represents a
broad range of specialties that ensure access to high quality medical care in a rural community. In
addition to being a major provider of health services, Mark Twain Medical Center is also one of the
area’s largest employers. More than 300 people are employed at the hospital and its five Family Medical
Centers. The Medical Center is a member of Dignity Health, the fifth largest not-for-profit healthcare
system in the nation. For more information, please visit our website at www.marktwainmedicalcenter.org.
Mark Twain Medical Center is also on Facebook.