River Region’s CEO leaving after two years on job

Published 12:06 pm Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vance Reynolds, the chief executive officer of River Region Medical Center, announced this morning that he was resigning the post he has held for two years to take a similar position in his hometown of Sherman, Texas.

“While this is an exciting professional and personal opportunity,” Reynolds said in a statement, “it was a difficult decision because I have fully enjoyed working with River Region’s outstanding board, employees, physicians and volunteers.”

Reynolds, who has been in health care management for 12 years, was hired by River Region from Chesterfield General Hospital in Cheraw, S.C., in December 2008, to replace Phillip Clendenin.

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He is scheduled to leave Dec. 10.

River Region is staffed by 1,600 employees. It has 372 licensed beds and 119 active physicians. The medical center operates most local medical care clinics and services.

In July, the medical center said it was on solid financial footing for the first time in its eight years of operations, reporting that 2009 expenses were down 13.1 percent from 2008, and the hospital’s EBITDA — a profitability metric referring to a firm’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — was up 133.9 percent for the year.

At the time, Reynolds said the hospital had faced “significant economic challenges” and had made no profit or lost money until last year’s financial gains. A report on 2010 has not been made available.

Also, between January and May of this year, collections lawsuits filed by the hospital against clients unable or unwilling to pay spiked by 670 percent. The hospital attributed the increase to backed up and inefficiently processed “uncollectible accounts” in the health care network’s business office. Fewer suits have appeared in court records in the months since.

In this morning’s statement, marketing director Diane Gawronski said the hospital “has strengthened medical staff relations, recruited more physicians and services … and inceased core measure scores to the 99th percentile” during Reynolds’ tenure.

The chairman of the board of trustees of River Region Health System, the parent company of River Region, thanked Reynolds for his work here.

“We wish Vance much success in his new position,” said Hal Gage.

River Region Health System is owned and operated by Community Health Systems of Tennessee, the nation’s largest publicly traded hospital firm.

CHS purchased the hospital from Dallas-based Triad in 2007, five years after the facility was opened on U.S. 61 North.

Phone calls to CHS were not returned this morning, but the statement from River Region said the search for a new CEO is underway.

River Region was created from the merger of ParkView Regional Medical Center and Vicksburg Medical Center.