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Johnson leaving Baptist Northeast to lead Elizabethtown hospital

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Oldham residents play a key role in leadership changes within Baptist Healthcare

By Laura Hagan

After 13 years as administrator at Baptist Hospital Northeast, Dennis Johnson will move to another hospital within the Baptist Healthcare System.
Several leadership changes announced Tuesday by Baptist Healthcare officials include promotions for Oldham
residents.
Effective Feb. 1, Johnson, 45, will serve as president of Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown.
It’s a bittersweet change, Johnson said, adding that his family will remain in Oldham County before relocating to Elizabethtown when his children finish the school year.
He said he’s excited for the new opportunity but it will be hard to leave the county he’s called home for so long.
“We love Oldham County,” he said. “It’s arguably one of the best places in the Commonwealth and on God’s Earth to live.”
The move to Hardin Memorial will mark the fourth of Baptist Healthcare Systems six hospitals Johnson has worked for. He’s worked for Baptist 21 years.
Elizabethtown is a great community as well, he said, and he believes his successor, Chris Roty, who currently serves as vice president at Baptist Hospital East, is an “outstanding leader” who will do a great job.
Johnson has led Baptist Northeast into a period of strong growth.
Tommy J. Smith, president and CEO of Baptist Healthcare System, said Johnson has been a key driver in bringing numerous healthcare improvements to Oldham and surrounding counties through his leadership of Baptist Hospital Northeast.
Johnson has overseen the hospital’s tremendous growth during his 13 years at the helm.
“More important, he has become an integral part of the community, and given back through countless volunteer hours to area organizations, Smith said. “I know Oldham County will be sorry to see him go.”
While at Baptist Northeast, Johnson oversaw the expansion of the 120-bed hospital, both in La Grange and beyond, including the newly built Baptist Crestwood outpatient facility that opened in June.
Other major renovations included the opening of the Baptist Northeast  Medical Plaza in 2004, a 30,000-square-foot addition to the front of the hospital providing increased physician office space and a welcoming two-story atrium.  
In 2009, Oldham Chamber & Economic Development honored Johnson as the Oldham Countian of the Year.
Johnson received the Oldham Countian of the Year award on the 12th anniversary of the day he became administrator of Baptist Hospital Northeast.
That same night, he accepted an award Baptist Hospital Northeast earned for community service, and praised the community with a sentiment he’s echoed several times before and since.
“As I’ve said for years, Oldham County is a great place to do community,” he said. “There are just some really good folks here and we’ve made a lot of friendships we hope to keep.”
Johnson also serves in other capacities, volunteering his time with Boy Scouts and being involved with the Oldham Chamber & Economic Development.
In his new role as president of Hardin Memorial – which is managed by Baptist Healthcare System – Johnson will oversee the 300-bed facility, in addition to freestanding outpatient facilities in Brandenburg, Bardstown and Elizabethtown.
Hardin Memorial employs more than 1,600 people and in FY 2010 treated nearly 227,000 patients.
Baptist Northeast will welcome Chris Roty as the new hospital administrator  beginning Feb. 1.
Roty, 46, serves as vice president at Baptist Hospital East in Louisville, will continue to serve as a vice president of Baptist East, where he currently oversees departments including cardiovascular and radiology services.
Roty, of Prospect, has served as a vice president at Baptist Hospital East since 1996.
Under his leadership of cardiovascular services, Baptist East recently was named one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals, and Roty has overseen implementation of numerous information technology improvements including bar-coded medication administration to improve patient safety, and implementation of computerized medical records.
Officials announced that David Gray, current president of Hardin  Memorial Hospital, will serve as president of Baptist Hospital East beginning Feb. 1. Gray succeeds Baptist East President Susan Stout Tamme, who is assuming a new role with Baptist Healthcare System as president of the Louisville Market.
Tamme, 59, is charged with implementing and overseeing crucial community alignments to better position Baptist in the Louisville market in preparation for healthcare reform.
Tamme, a resident of Pewee Valley, has served as president of Baptist Hospital East since March 1995.  
She joined Baptist Healthcare System in 1973 as a staff nurse at Kentucky Baptist Hospital (later known as Baptist Hospital Highlands), then transferred to Baptist East when it opened in 1975 as nurse manager.  
In 1980, she began serving as the vice president of nursing and in 1986 was promoted to vice president for Baptist East until her promotion to president. Under her leadership, Baptist Hospital East has earned the Best Place to Work in Kentucky designation for six straight years – 2005-10  – among other awards.

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E-mail us about this story at: lhagan@oldhamera.com.