Veteran employee at Howard Memorial Hospital to step down after 45 years

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    Kay Walden is retiring today (Dec. 6) after 45 years at Howard Memorial Hospital.

    By Terrica Hendrix
    News-Leader staff

    This morning will be Kay Howard Walden’s last day as she will retire from Howard Memorial Hospital with more than 45 years of employment there.

    Walden began working at HMH in April 1972 under the administration of Dan Clark.

    Walden was born in Nashville in 1952 and immediately after high school graduation, she attended Ouachita Baptist University for almost two years.

    Once she “came back home,” she began working at HMH.

    “I was hired for the Business Office in patient accounts at $2 per hour. At that time, we received free lunches and we could purchase our medicines\through the hospital pharmacy … those were ‘perks’ you could say. I was the youngest employee at HMH at that time. Ironically, now I am one of the oldest and certainly one of the most tenured, along with Dr. [Sam] Peebles and Dr. [Joe] King,” she said.

    Linda Hosey was the director of Medical Records – which is now called the Health Information Management Department. When Hosey was on maternity leave, Walden started training to do medical transcription with the help of then-Administrator Dan Clark. “I had never done transcription before,” Walden explained, “He knew so much … so many medical terms that I had never heard of, [and] medicines, etc.”

    “One of the things that I was impressed by when I came to HMH was the tenure of some of the employees,” HMH CEO Debra Wright explained. “I think it’s a remarkable thing for Kay to spend her entire career at HMH given how mobile the medical field is. Kay is admired here and her retirement will definitely leave a void that’ll be hard to fill.”

    Walden, a 1970 Mineral Springs High School graduate, has enjoyed learning many aspects of Health Information Management; getting to work with the physicians and other employees and the “feeling of family that we have at HMH.

    “I will miss working with the other employees and physicians most. HMH has a wonderful group of employees and physicians. I‘ll also miss seeing my younger brother, Kim Howard, every day. He usually has a funny story to tell or he is following his role as the hospital prankster.”

    She plans to travel and spend time with her husband (Maxey), family and friends.

    She has been married to Maxey since 1979 and they have three children: Katie, Max and Lana; four grandchildren: Chloe, Rowan, Melia, and Sophie; and “two great sons-in-law”: Brandon Keeton and Brett Murray.

    She attends Central Baptist Church in Mineral Springs where she been the organist for many years.

    A reception for Walden will be held on Thurs., Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. at the hospital.