Power Poll: Confidence in Boyd
Should UT make its interim president permanent? Our latest survey of local community leaders shows strong support.
Three-quarters of local community leaders who responded to the latest Power Poll think the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees should make Randy Boyd’s interim appointment as president permanent.
Of those who responded to the email survey, 75 percent favored naming Boyd to the post, 20 percent supported a nationwide presidential search, and 5 percent said they were undecided.
Boyd was named interim UT president in September 2018, the month after his campaign for Tennessee governor ended in the Republican primary, where he finished second to Gov. Bill Lee.
At the time of his appointment to a two-year term, Boyd downplayed the likelihood that he might seek the permanent position. But in an interview last month with WBIR, Boyd acknowledged he would like to stay longer: “There's a lot of exciting things happening and I would hate to lose that momentum."
How BlueCross Supports Primary Care
By Henry Smith
Senior Vice President, Operations & Chief Marketing Officer
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
At a basic level, health insurance provides protection against risk. But our mission is about so much more than that.
We’re committed to improving health for the customers and communities we serve. And our teams are working every day to help our members maintain good health or lower the risk of a worsening or serious health condition.
Dr. Andrea Willis, our chief medical officer, says one of the best ways a person can pursue better health is to build a relationship with a primary care provider. She began her career as a pediatrician, and she’s seen firsthand how that kind of relationship can make a difference.
We believe primary care providers are the very core of quality and efficient health care. Now, we’re doing more than ever to help them deliver cost-effective care that meets the highest health and wellness standards. One example is our new Medical Home Partnership (MHP) program. It will soon move beyond its original focus on members with chronic health conditions to support more of our members and their unique health needs.
We also know that convenience matters, especially for preventive or maintenance care that might not feel urgent to someone. That’s why, through another effort, we’re investing in primary care with physician practices across the state to make it easier for our members to get care when they need it.
Here are two recent examples of how our innovation grants will help improve the primary care experience:
- Galen Medical Group in Chattanooga will launch a streamlined online portal that makes it easier to schedule appointments and lets patients use electronic messaging with their providers.
- State of Franklin Health Care Associates in Johnson City will use technology to make it easier for patients to understand the costs of their services. They’re also adding online scheduling and telehealth services.
We’ll keep working with partners across the state to evolve the primary care experience – making it more accessible and more convenient. Together, we can bring better health to the people we serve in Tennessee.
At the Nov. 8 meeting of the Board of Trustees, board Chair John Compton said he planned to conduct an evaluation of Boyd’s performance to date and would come back to the board with possible further steps. Trustee Decosta Jenkins replied, “I think Randy’s done an excellent job, and I think it would be a great thing if we could take the ‘interim’ role off.”
His tenure to date has been active, including the hiring of Donde Plowman as chancellor of the Knoxville campus; brokering a policy change intended to remove campus funding from the controversial annual Sex Week program and head off complaints about it from state legislators; and proposing a merger of the Knoxville campus with the adjacent Institute of Agriculture.
By early next year, the board will probably have to decide whether to proceed with a nationwide search for the position, name Boyd to it, or take some other approach.
Boyd would be a historically unusual choice for the position. Past UT presidents have generally come from either academia or government, and while Boyd now has experience in both his career has been mostly in the private sector.
But he’s also a known quantity with a lot of community goodwill in Knox County, so it may not be surprising that local leaders find him an attractive choice for the position.
About the Power Poll
The Power Poll is not a scientific poll. It is, instead, a survey taken of the leading citizens and decision-makers in a variety of fields. It includes elected officials, business CEOs and other wealthy individuals, nonprofit leaders, media figures, university presidents, and entertainment and sports figures active in their communities.
A total of 324 people in the Knoxville area were queried about the TVA tower deal, with 32 percent responding. To view the membership lists, go to www.powerpoll.com.