Local News

May 25, 2014

Dent brings experience in health care, finance and government to Healthcare Partnership

— Macon and Dalton may not seem to have much in common, but Greg Dent says that when it comes to health care they do share some of the same problems.

“A lot of the needs of the underserved are the same,” he said. “They have transportation needs. Many of them lack access to healthy food, and there’s the problem of access to care for the uninsured.”

Dent, who started as executive director of the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership three weeks ago, spent nine years as president and CEO of Community Health Works in Macon. Like the Healthcare Partnership, Community Health Works is a nonprofit agency aimed at increasing the access to health care and improving the health of its community.

“We were almost like sister agencies. We share many of the same sources of funding,” he said.

That’s how he became acquainted with Nancy Kennedy, the only executive director the Healthcare Partnership has ever had. Kennedy announced earlier this year that she was stepping down after more than 20 years at the helm of the Healthcare Partnership. Dent said she encouraged him to apply for the post. Dent, who has been serving as a consultant to nonprofits for most of the past two years, jumped at the chance

“One thing I have noticed about Dalton is that there is more community interest in the work of the Partnership than I have experienced in the past. Our board of directors is very involved and very visionary,” he said.

Since coming to Dalton, Dent has been traveling around the community and trying to meet as many people as he can. He says that while there are similarities there are also some differences between this community and Macon.

“The Hispanic population in central Georgia is growing but it’s not as large a share as it is here,” he said.

Meeting the needs of that population will remain a goal for the Partnership, he said.

“One of the biggest challenges not just for the community but for all communities is going to be the rapid changes in health care, the changes in funding due to the Affordable Care Act, taking advantage of the benefits of it and finding out where any holes are,” he said.

Dent is a graduate of Georgia College and State University, where he received a bachelor of business administration in accounting. He worked for several years in accounting and financial management.

He was elected to the Crawford County Board of Commissioners in 1996 and served eight years on the board, including three as chairman.

Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Babb, a member of the board of the Healthcare Partnership, said Dent’s time in office was one thing that made him stand out.

“He’s dealt with the operations of a health department and knows about the challenges that we face in government in dealing with health care issues,” he said. “Speaking for me personally, that was a plus.”

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