FLORENCE — A change in management in RegionalCare Hospital Partners corporate offices is not expected to affect projects in Florence, according to company officials.
Current CEO Marty Rash will move to the executive chairman position at the Brentwood, Tenn.-based health care firm. Kent Wallace has been named president and CEO. Wallace will begin his tenure March 1
Additionally, John Rutledge, chief operating officer at RegionalCare, has left the company to pursue "other business endeavors." Wallace will also take on Rutledge's responsibilities.
The changes come at an important time for the two Shoals properties owned by RegionalCare: Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence and Shoals Hospital in Muscle Shoals. RegionalCare is seeking a certificate of need from the state health authority to replace ECM and to build a comprehensive cancer center. A contested case hearing, as part of the certificate of need process, is under way at the Marriott Shoals Hotel in Florence. The hearing moves into its third week today.
Locally, Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield and Alliance Oncology are contesting and challenging projections RegionalCare filed in its certificate of need application.
Rash and Rutledge have been with RegionalCare since its inception in 2009. The purchase of ECM and Shoals was the company's first acquisition.
Jeff Atwood, vice president of communication at RegionalCare, said the company's commitment to building a new hospital in Florence has not wavered.
"Nothing changes in terms of our commitment to the community," Atwood said. "Nothing changes in the commitment to building a new hospital and moving through the certificate of need process."
Wallace comes to RegionalCare from Vanguard Health Systems, where he was president and chief operating officer since 2005.
"RegionalCare is well-positioned for future growth, and I look forward to building on its success," Wallace said in a RegionalCare news release.
Atwood said he anticipates Wallace will visit Florence shortly after he begins work at RegionalCare.
Rash will remain involved in strategy, acquisition and development activities at RegionalCare.
Rash testified on the first day of the contested case hearing and said RegionalCare is committed to the two proposed projects and has the financial resources to see them through.
The hearing is expected to wrap up by the middle of this week. Helen Keller representatives will continue their case today.
Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754.