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A new CEO, wound care center and structure at Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital

Courtesy of Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital

The Tennessee-based health system that includes Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital in Cherokee County, is searching for a new CEO.

Erlanger Health System, which operates seven hospitals and seven emergency centers, announced that CEO Dr. Will Jackson’s last day on the job was June 10th. Jackson first served as Erlanger's chief medical officer before being tapped as CEO in September 2019.

His departure comes after he threw his hat into the ring for a hospital CEO position in Florida. Jackson was one of four finalists, but was not chosen for the top spot, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The search for Erlanger’s new CEO will be led by the Board’s Management and Board Evaluation Committee. In the interim, Robert Maloney, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Gregg Gentry, Chief Administrative Officer, and Lynn DeJaco, Chief Financial Officer, will work together to lead the system.

Erlanger announced in February that it was taking actions to become a 501(c)3 charitable organization. The hospital system is a quasi-governmental entity which was created as the Chattanooga-Hamilton Hospital Authority.

“It is complicated,” said chair of the Erlanger Board of Trustees Jim Coleman in February.

“Back in 1977, Hamilton County and state legislators passed the current private act that we are under, when the Chattanooga Health Authority was formed so it is a not-for-profit. We are a 501(c)3 now but we are also a governmental entity. So we are like a quasi-governmental entity,” explained Coleman in February.

“Which has some of the strings attached as far as red tape and bureaucracy that go along with being a governmental entity. So that’s one part of it. We’re really just looking to switch to a private independent 501(c)3,” he continued.

He says the new structure will add flexibility to explore new partnerships and allow additional access to capital.

A bill to make the switch was introduced in the Tennessee House of Representatives in April where it quickly passed the House and Senate. The bill was signed by the Governor at the end of May.

Erlanger says it is the only provider of tertiary care services in a 50,000 square-mile region of southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia, north Alabama and western North Carolina.

On Tuesday, June 21, Erlanger Western hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new wound center and announced that Dr. Andrew B. Beeghly will serve as the medical director.

Beeghly previously served as EWCH’s Medical Director of Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, before stepping away for military deployment, according to a press release.

EWCH CEO Stephanie Boynton says the hospital is excited to bring wound care services back to the hospital.

“Patients will have easy access to specialty clinics, including surgery, cardiology, orthopedics and urology,” said Boynton in a press release. Boyton is also CEO of Erlanger Bledsoe in Pikeville, Tennessee which also includes the Sequatchie Valley Emergency Department in Dunlap, Tennessee.

The wound care center consists of a patient waiting area and four exam rooms. There are plans to install a hyperbaric chamber for hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the future.

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.
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