Baptist Health names president, chief executive officer

Baptist Health (formerly Baptist Healthcare System) has named Stephen C. Hanson president and chief executive officer, effective March 8. Hanson succeeds President and Chief Executive Officer Tommy J. Smith, who announced his retirement last year.

Hanson, 61, has served in various senior leadership positions for Texas Health Resources since 2005, most recently as executive vice president and operations leader for the region covering Dallas-Fort Worth. Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States and includes 25 affiliated acute care and short-stay hospitals.

“Stephen Hanson brings solid leadership experience in not-for-profit healthcare systems, blended with key successes in the critical areas facing today’s healthcare systems and leaders: quality improvement and clinical integration, cost management, physician engagement and improving community health,” said Baptist Health Board Chair Jim Rickard. “Equally important, he recognizes the value of Baptist Health as a premier statewide healthcare provider in Kentucky and the quality healthcare services provided by more than 15,000 employees. He embraces the integrity and values that have made Baptist what it is today, and brings a genuine respect for Baptist’s faith-based heritage that will continue to guide our organization, having worked in some of the strongest faith-based systems in the country.”

The announcement was made Friday following a special-called Baptist Health Board meeting and after an extensive national search which began in July 2012.

Hanson said one reason for his interest in the Baptist Health position is the exciting time this represents in the organization’s history. “Baptist has been serving the citizens of Kentucky and surrounding states since 1924 and has an excellent opportunity to continue that mission far into the future,” Hanson explained. “The rules are changing with health reform and there is increased accountability to deliver high quality, cost-effective health services to the community. Baptist is well positioned to thrive in the new healthcare world.”

Hanson’s accomplishments include more than 30 years’ experience in key executive roles and a solid background in clinical service development, physician integration, development of strategic alliances, and financial and quality improvement efforts garnering national recognition.

Hanson also served as president and CEO of Kentucky-based Appalachian Regional Healthcare from 1999 to 2005, so this represents a return to Kentucky for him and his family. “Having lived in Kentucky previously, I know the excellent patient care that Baptist – with its physicians, nurses and other caregivers – provides as well as its commitment to improving the health of the people Baptist serves in its communities. Our family looks forward to returning to Kentucky. We have many friends there. We look forward to seeing them again and making many new friends,” Hanson said.

Current President and Chief Executive Officer Tommy J. Smith announced his retirement in June 2012, having led the organization since 1995. Smith was a 37-year administrator at Baptist Health, taking it from a $400 million company to one with more than $1.6 billion in net revenue. In 2012, Smith expanded Baptist Healthcare’s state presence by adding Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center in Richmond (now Baptist Health Richmond), Trover Health System in Madisonville (now Baptist Health Madisonville) and a managed hospital, Russell County Hospital in Russell Springs. He also initiated the rebranding of Baptist Healthcare System to Baptist Health, which was announced in September 2012. On Feb. 5, all hospitals in the system will publicly transition to Baptist Health with the completion of new signage installation and the adoption of a new logo.


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