New hospital CFO fitting in

New hospital Chief Financial Officer Latisha Johnson at her desk in her office at South Central Kansas Medical Center. She began work in May.

Although it has been nearly 16 years since she first worked for South Central Kansas Medical Center, new Chief Financial Officer Litisha (Tisha) Johnson still sees connections she first made at the hospital when she served as emergency room registrar.

“I worked up until the day that my son was born,” she recalled.

Johnson said on her first day as CFO, the medical center’s health information officer remembered her.

“She not only remembered me from all those years ago, she asked me about my son. She even remembered Finnegan’s name,” Johnson said.

While that early experience provided some connection and relevant experience, her subsequent positions in finance and accounting provided extensive preparation for her new challenges at the hospital.

After completing a bachelor’s in business administration in accountancy at Wichita State, Johnson worked as an accounting clerk for a local CPA for more than seven years. An 18-month stint as the financial officer for Kaw Nation in Oklahoma extended the boundaries of her accounting expertise.

“That was really good for giving me a good idea about the additional duties of a chief financial officer,” Johnson said.

Hospital CEO Jeff Bowman saw that experience and her many years of intimate knowledge of tax and financial reporting as key factors in hiring Johnson.

“We needed someone with a good background in accounting and awareness of key issues in the key aspects of the position,” Bowman said. “We had to have someone that could hit the ground running and that’s exactly what Tisha has done.”

 Currently finishing up her third week in the new job, Johnson credits accounting and bookkeeping duties for CPAs in both Ark City and Ponca City with helping her handle the steep learning curve.

“I needed all of those places for what I need to know here,” she said.

Johnson said everyone at the medical center has been very patient and helpful.

Risk Management and Quality Performance director Shayla McDonald complimented her new co-worker.

“Litisha knows what she knows and what she doesn’t; she asks questions and I like that,” she said.

Accounts payable manager Tracy Tapia has worked with at least four CFOs in her 15 years at the hospital.

“Litisha is very knowledgeable and very easy to work with,” Tapia said. “She’s very upfront and clear in her communications. That really helps me know whether we’re on the same page.”

Business Services manager Crystal Bowman (no relation to CEO Jeff Bowman) has an even longer tenure with SCKMC, having known Johnson from that earlier work stint. Bowman has worked with at least six CFOs in more than 25 years.

“One of the things I like about Tisha is that she’s real personable,” Bowman said. “Sometimes CFOs are real numbers people and might not do so well in the personality department. She is just super nice and she’s not afraid to ask questions.”

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