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Baptist Healthcare CEO to retire in 2013

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By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

The president and CEO of Baptist Healthcare System has announced his plans to retire next year. 

Tommy J. Smith is a 37-year administrator of one of Kentucky’s largest healthcare systems and has led the organization since 1995.

He will retire effective April 15, 2013. 

The announcement was made during Baptist Healthcare System’s quarterly board meeting June 26. 

A Baptist Healthcare board search committee is working to evaluate qualified candidates for Smith’s successor.

“The person chosen to follow Tommy Smith will step into a coveted leadership position at the helm of one of the Commonwealth’s most successful healthcare companies. That’s due – in large part – to the integrity, quiet determination and consistent vision set forth by Tommy Smith,” said Baptist Healthcare System Board Chair Frank “Rusty” Purdy. “Our primary goal in selecting a successor is to find someone who can carry forward the Baptist culture that is at the core of our success, and build on the incredibly strong foundation that readies us for a promising future.”

Smith has taken Baptist Healthcare System from a $400 million company to one with more than $1.6 billion in net revenue. Having led three of its five owned hospitals (Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington from 1980-84; Baptist Hospital East from 1984-95; and Baptist Hospital Northeast – then Tri-County Baptist – from 1993-95), he brought a working knowledge of hospitals’ challenges and important contributions to his role as system CEO.

In recent years, Smith has expanded Baptist Healthcare’s state presence by partnering with Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown (since 1997) and Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center in Richmond, both under management agreements. Baptist has grown its physician network to more than 400 employed physicians and more than 1,600 independent physicians.

Smith will remain actively involved in his remaining months as president and CEO in preparation for a smooth transition.

“Tommy Smith is leaving this fine organization in the capable hands of his leadership team, board and the thousands of valued employees across Kentucky. We are grateful for Tommy’s leadership and service over the years,” Purdy said.