New Holzer CEO looks to bring more specialized physicians to area and expand education programs

I interviewed the CEO of Holzer and it was pretty cool.

(Photo via Holzer Health Systems)

The man who once helped develop Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine was named CEO and chairman of the Board of Governors to Holzer Health System Jan. 1.

In his new position, Christopher T. Meyer hopes to increase specialized care across the company’s seven-county scope and expand programs for students.

Meyer worked for Holzer as a gastroenterologist for 13 years and accumulated 37 years of experience throughout his career after graduating from Des Moines University College of Medicine. He also completed a gastroenterology fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine.

He replaced Holzer’s former CEO, T. Wayne Munro, who retired Dec. 31, 2014.

Recently, The Post sat down with Meyer to talk about his new position, Holzer’s goals and the state of healthcare.

The Post: You’ve been Holzer Health System’s CEO and chairman of the Board of Governors for three months now. How has the transition been going?

Meyer: Three months and the buildings are still standing (laughs). (The administration) had been kind of grooming me to take over my predecessor’s position. It’s different, but the transition has been going smoothly. Some of my colleagues might disagree.

The Post: Do you enjoy the job?

Meyer: My whole career I’ve been involved in administrative work. I held a faculty spot at Michigan State and served as the faculty dean of (the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University) from 1994 to 1998. I played a key role in developing (the Athens) branch. The mix makes it interesting.

The Post: What are some things you are looking to change or improve as CEO?

Meyer: We’re the largest provider of primary care services in Appalachian Ohio. Our pediatric family practices number more than 60 physicians. Primary care is our strength. (We look) to bring more primary care physicians in different types of specialties to the area.

We are moving into graduate and undergraduate education programs. (The programs) will be teaching third and fourth year medical students and graduates of medical schools who want to specialize in family practice. We are taking six students from HCOM and four students from the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

The Post: Do you see a lot of OU students come through Holzer?

Meyer: Predominantly, it is non-student. Having said that, we see, I would say, hundreds or a thousand students in the course of a year in terms of unique visits. In some instances (students) prefer the Holzer brand or in some instances their parents may or they are local and have used Holzer in the past. In my practice, I would see students on a weekly basis.

The Post: How would you compare Holzer to other healthcare services in Athens?

Meyer: We’re a lot different because O’Bleness and Hudson because they are limited to Athens’ town and county. Holzer has a bigger footprint in that we are the largest healthcare provider in Southeast Ohio. We operate in seven counties and have a bigger footprint. (Athens, Meigs, Vinton, Jackson, Gallia, Lawrence, and Mason, West Virginia)

It doesn’t matter if you are O’Bleness or Hudson Health or Holzer, the healthcare world is becoming increasingly complicated. The numbers of primary care providers continues to diminish, the population continues to age, with the baby-boomers moving into the last few decades of our lives. And all of that creates an added burden for healthcare.

Healthcare now costs 18 cents to every dollar. When we reach the 25-cent mark, we won’t be able to afford the strategic imperatives of the nation like the military or the welfare program.

The 25-cent marker is a deal breaker, and we’re only 7 cents away.


Amplified Observations: Is using ‘hey’ in lyrics effective or lazy?

Mostly lazy, in my opinion.

Among the most commonly used interjections in music is the word “hey.” Regardless of if the song is a bass-heavy, 100 percent certified banger or a brash punk rock anthem, “hey” is found all over the musical spectrum, often used to add a vocal amplification of instrumental intensity.

For example, in its 1993 hit “Shine,” Collective Soul used “hey” between bouts of grunge-y, but undeniably catchy, guitar riffs to give the listener a vocal hook to chant with each iteration. It is an example of the word being used in its appropriate foreground context that adds to the song.

However, for as many times as “hey” is used to strengthen a track, it is used equally as passive, meaningless filler.

The biggest culprit of the misuse of “hey” is DJ Mustard, who uses syncopated “hey’s” between claps in nearly all his songs. Although it might be considered a signature style like his bouncy synths or intro-catchphrase, Mustard’s use of syncopated “hey’s” in major hits like Tyga’s “Rack City,” B.o.B.’s “HeadBand” and a variety of YG songs has become less of a trademark and more of an exhibition of lazy producing. Those “hey’s” don’t engage the audience but rather act as cushion for the mix, which could easily filled by a more interesting and unique sound choice.

However, despite its shallow function, Mustard’s practice has also been embraced by other artists and producers such Iggy Azalea in “Fancy,” DJ Snake in “Turn Down For What” and, more recently, Jidenna in “Classic Man.” And although those examples might have been an attempt to replicate some of Mustard’s success, the fact remains that the “hey’s” still do not work and have continued to gain traction as just another hackneyed hip-hop trope.

Yet, hip-hop is not the only party guilty for the diminishing effect of “hey.” The early 2010s folk revival, spurred on by the success and popularity of Mumford & Sons, helped to re-incorporate the syllable into chanting rather than actual lyrical content referring to the meaning of the song like “Hey You,” “Hey Jude” or “Hey Hey What Can I Do?”

With hits like The Lumineer’s incredibly sappy “Ho Hey” in 2012 and Of Mice and Men’s “Little Talks” in 2011, modern folk musicians have shouted “hey” so much it’s grown as clichéd as their lumberjack clothes or home-brewed beer. And although the “hey’s” are not quite as passive as the looped samples in hip-hop, they still serve little musical significance because they’re not based around instrumental phrases or progress a lyrical narrative or emotion.

They’re just there, not adding anything but another layer of percussive sound. They probably wouldn’t even be listed in the lyrics sheet, if those exist anymore.

Granted, there have been cases of “hey” being successfully used merely for its sound and desired effect, but most of those songs made an effort to use it in the forefront rather than the background. OutKast’s 2003 mega-hit “Hey Ya” uses the syllable ironically supported by the subsequent lyrics “y’all don’t want to hear me/ you just want to dance.”

And in 2006’s “Snow (Hey Oh)” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, the word is featured so prominently that it becomes tied to the emotional meaning of the song and not simply thrown in for good measure. The same goes with the band’s song “hey,” released the same year, which embraces the term instead of nearly discarding it.

It seems that I have a lot to say about “hey,” but when it really comes down to it, it has to do with the growth of lazy songwriting. Listeners should not let musicians get away with throwing useless words in their songs just for their popular appeal. What used to be an energetic interjection of spontaneity and excitement has now become formulaic and commercialized.

And, frankly, that’s nothing to shout about.

Luke Furman is a sophomore studying journalism and a reporter for The Post. What do you think of this lyrical choice? Tweet him @LukeFurmanOU or email him at

Amplified Observations: Radio offers country music fans wide variety of options

For all of us who don’t own a satellite radio subscription or a car new enough to have an aux cord plug, we’re stuck listening the radio. The radio, which still exists as one of the nation’s most popular entertainment mediums, functions as a useful passenger if you’re keen on listening to heavily-promoted corporate singles or middle-aged men trying to seem witty and important.

Sometimes both.

However, as most of us radio-heads have noticed, one particular type of music seems to have a much higher presence across the airwaves. And that would be, of course, modern country music.

According to News Generation, there are 1,601 country music stations in the U.S. as of April 2015. Its closest music competitor, stations that play adult hits, had less than half of country music’s broadcasting outlets with 792 (for general radio stations, news talk radio and religious radio would have come in first and third with 1,621 and 1,110 stations, respectively).

So why do country music fans have the most options when their genre is among the most polarizing? Have you ever met someone only “kind of” into contemporary country music? Aside from a few crossovers hits like “Wagon Wheel” and “Honey, I’m Good”, modern country music doesn’t get much play on pop or rock stations and seems to stay in what seems to be an entirely separate universe. So why does this genre have such a command over radio audiences?

The best explanation I can offer for this phenomenon is the prevalent notion of solidarity in modern country music.

Although formulaic and often clichéd, modern country music succeeds in romanticizing the down-home, dirt-road lifestyle that many Americans subscribe or wish to subscribe to.

Unlike its sonic predecessor of outlaw country made famous by the likes of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, modern country, which currently has a lasso around the radio, gives its listeners a sense of solidarity with subject matter they can relate to and embrace: trucks, cold beer and tequila, women and love, dogs, backcountry America and, of course, big green tractors. And although the unfamiliar listener might find that most songs sound the same, that’s somewhat the point of the music: to join in the Friday night party at the lake.

The instrumentals in the music function mainly to support the lyrical content and are frankly unimportant and not innovative in most cases. There really aren’t any Eddie Van Halens or Jimmy Pages in country music. Most of them get by with a few chords and a simple bassline, which supports the theory that its audience is mostly concerned with what they are talking about. I’d argue that the style of the music could be changed to a rock or folk sound without affecting the message of individual songs.

So, it is my guess that modern country’s aspect of social inclusion appeals to such a wide variety of listeners that it requires enough radio stations to satisfy the demand, but, then again, I only ended up with a B in my sociology class. Nevertheless, there is something to be said about the genre’s ascension into the center of mainstream American culture.

But, for whatever reason that is, unless it’s Zac Brown Band, I’m turning the dial.

Luke Furman is a sophomore studying journalism and a reporter for The Post. What do you think of country music? Tweet him @LukeFurmanOU or email him at

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