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New CEO named for Harris Regional and Swain Community Hospitals

Courtesy of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital

Harris Regional Hospital in Jackson County and Swain Community Hospital have a new CEO. Christopher Munton has been named new CEO of the two Duke-LifePoint hospitals.

“I look forward to joining our hospitals and communities as we continue creating places where people choose to come for healthcare, physicians want to practice and employees want to work,” said Munton in a press release.

Munton comes to Harris and Swain from National Park Medical Center - another LifePoint Health system in Arkansas, where he has served as chief operating officer (COO) since 2020.

Prior to NPMC, he served as assistant administrator at Rutherford Regional Health System, another Duke Lifepoint facility in Rutherfordton, NC. Munton earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Brigham Young University of Hawaii, and a master’s degree in health care administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX.

For-profit Duke-LifePoint purchased the hospital system in 2014. Then in 2018, LifePoint Health was purchased by RCCH Healthcare which operates in 12 states and is owned by private equity firm Apollo Management Group.

“In addition to his extensive operational experience, Chris brings our hospitals a genuine commitment to people and dedication to ensuring that a hospital is an excellent community partner,” said Dr. Thomas, chair of the Harris and Swain Board of Trustees in a press release. “We’re excited to welcome Chris to our community and to seek new and greater ways to advance our mission of Making Communities Healthier.”

Former CEO Steve Heatherly left the position in October 2021 to become Chief Operating Officer at Pardee UNC Health Care in Henderson County.

Munton’s first day will be May 16.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.