Saint Thomas DeKalb, Highlands, and Stones River Hospitals each name a CAO and director of nursing

NASHVILLE – Today, Saint Thomas Health announced executive leadership changes at Saint Thomas DeKalb, Highlands and Stones River Hospitals. The newly structured hospital leadership teams will be comprised of a chief administrative officer and director of nursing. Saint Thomas Health is part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system.

In support of Saint Thomas Health’s mission and strategic direction, the leadership team continues to look for the best ways to provide affordable, safe, and quality and accessible care to all, with special attention to those most vulnerable.

“Our leadership structures will continue to develop to support the goals of our strategic direction, and these changes include elevating and promoting Saint Thomas Health associates to help sustain our hospitals in the future,” said Gordon Ferguson, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and president of Saint Thomas regional hospitals. “As we continue to make our care delivery operations more efficient, we have made the decision to form separate leadership teams for Saint Thomas DeKalb, Highlands and Stones River Hospitals, allowing for a focus on growth, quality and operational excellence at each hospital.”

At Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital, Richard Tumlin will serve as the interim chief administrative officer. Tumlin was most recently the chief operating officer at Southern Hills Hospital in Nashville where he worked since 2011. Tumlin graduated from both the University of Georgia and Georgia State University and currently lives in Brentwood, Tenn. In addition, Jennifer Halfacre will serve as interim director of nursing at Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital, and she will be supported by Bob Peglow, chief nursing officer for the Saint Thomas Health regional hospitals. Halfacre will continue her current responsibilities for surgical services at the hospital.

At Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital, Brian Gill has been named chief administrative officer. Gill has been extremely involved with the behavioral health services provided at several Saint Thomas hospitals, and he will continue to support the behavioral health services provided at Saint Thomas regional hospitals.

At Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital, Brad Mullinax will serve as the new chief administrative officer. Previously, Mullinax has served as the director of clinical operations at Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Both Gill and Mullinax will be supported by Emily Elrod, who has been appointed as the director of nursing a both Saint Thomas Stones River and DeKalb Hospitals. Previously, Elrod served as director of clinical operations at Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital.

As a result of these changes in the executive leadership structure, Andy Wachtel will be transitioning from his role as president and CEO for these three regional hospitals. Additionally, the clinical operations position has been eliminated at each of these hospitals.

“With the ever-changing landscape in healthcare, we must continue to evolve to meet the needs of our communities, and the new executive leadership structure will allow us to have a strong leadership presence at each hospital every day,” said Ferguson. “Times of change can be difficult, but we remain committed to the continued service of each of these regional hospitals.”

In Tennessee, Ascension’s Saint Thomas Health operates nine hospitals in addition to a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities that cover a 68-county area and employ more than 8,000 associates.  Across the state, Saint Thomas Health provided more than $92 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2017.

Serving Tennessee for 15 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable.  Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating more than 2,600 sites of care – including 151 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

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