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Search for CEO continues at Memorial Hospital

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From Bulletin staff reports

Nearly a year after its chief executive officer resigned, Memorial Hospital in Martinsville still is trying to recruit someone for its top administrative post.

“We’ve been looking very hard, but we just haven’t found the right person,” said Eric Deaton, CEO for LifePoint Hospitals’ south central Virginia market.

Interviews with applicants for the post are continuing. LifePoint has been recruiting nationwide.

Memorial’s previous CEO, Grady “Skip” Philips, oversaw the hospital for three years before resigning last fall to work for Valley Health System in Winchester. The six-hospital system’s website shows Philips now is chief operating officer and senior vice president of Winchester Medical Center.

Deaton is the top administrator at Danville Regional Medical Center, which LifePoint also owns. Since Philips left, he basically has spent three days per work week at Danville and two days at Memorial.

While he officially will continue overseeing both hospitals, Deaton has said that Memorial needs its own CEO — someone who is at the hospital full-time, lives in Martinsville-Henry County and, through his or her involvement in the community, can better assess what the area’s unique health needs are and how to fulfill them.

Deaton said LifePoint officials have reviewed about a dozen résumés for the Memorial job and interviewed about half of the applicants. The company was close to hiring someone a few months ago, he said, but that applicant then decided to remain with the Texas health care firm for which he worked.

“We will have a CEO here, hopefully soon,” Deaton pledged. He is optimistic, he said, that an applicant to be interviewed next week is the right person for the job, based on the person’s qualifications and experience.

Hiring a chief executive for a hospital is an extensive process, but it is not overly difficult, he indicated.

For Memorial, Deaton said, LifePoint seeks an administrator with “the right skill mixes” — not just experience in hospital leadership, but also experience with types of care that Memorial provides but that not all hospitals do, such as home health and hospice services.

Also, a person who is interested in living and working in a small community and taking part in its daily life is sought, he said.

Martinsville-Henry County is attractive to many such people, Deaton said, because “there is a lot to do here,” from NASCAR races at the Martinsville Speedway and arts and cultural activities, yet metropolitan cities and their amenities are short drives away.

Memorial and Danville Regional have combined some of their resources and their doctors often collaborate. However, Deaton said Memorial is in Martinsville to stay and is looking to expand its services in the future.


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