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Baptist Health Paducah President and CEO Larry Barton to retire



Larry Barton, president and CEO of Baptist Health Paducah, will retire in October after overseeing more than two decades of expansion and progress in local healthcare.

“Without question, my 21 years at Baptist Health Paducah have been the most rewarding of my career,” he said.

Barton’s retirement is effective Oct. 4, 2013, according to his letter to Stephen Hanson, CEO of the Baptist Health system headquartered in Louisville.

“Larry consistently has responded to the needs of Western Kentucky residents with advanced technology and significant investments in quality services,” said Hanson. “He is dedicated to patients’ needs, never forgetting that how we treat patients is just as important as the tools we use to deliver that care. Fortunately, Paducah and its surrounding communities have been blessed with a strong focus on both these needs under Larry’s leadership.”

Soon after Barton arrived, Western Baptist (now Baptist Health Paducah) celebrated its 40th anniversary; this year, it will celebrate its 60th. Barton is the longest-serving of six presidents at Baptist.

During his two decades at Baptist, these additions made modern healthcare accessible to the region:

  •   $67 million investment in 1997-2003 for the main atrium; outpatient, trauma, surgical and critical care services; renovation of second, third and fourth floors; and construction of three doctors’ office buildings and the area’s only parking garage.
  •  $5.6 million in 2005 for the Baptist Imaging Center. It expanded the center in 2010 for $9.2 million and, this year, added imaging at three off-campus walk-in clinics.
  •  $20 million in 2007 for the Baptist Heart Center, the area’s most comprehensive heart center and first of its kind in Kentucky west of Louisville.
  •  $17 million in 2012-13 for a surgical expansion, including the area’s only da Vinci robotics, two new open heart surgery rooms and the area’s largest hybrid operating room; as well as a new family surgical waiting room.

Meanwhile, the hospital stayed focused on patient safety and quality care – earning the region’s first chest pain center accreditation, certification of the region’s only advanced stroke center and addition of the region’s only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Barton also helped start Baptist Health Foundation Paducah, which has raised more than $7.5 million in eight years to expand technology and improve services.

“We have always focused on the needs of our patients,” Barton said, “and I think that’s why we continue to be the hospital our region prefers 2 to 1.”

Barton called his decision to retire bittersweet. “I will miss the daily association with my hospital family. That’s the hard part,” he said. The hospital is one of the region’s largest employers with about 1,800 employees.

He noted, however, that the hospital is on solid ground to succeed in this new era of healthcare. “The future is bright for Baptist Health,” Barton said.

Since it opened in 1953, the hospital has been part of Baptist Health. The Baptist Health Board of Directors will oversee a search committee, including Paducah representatives, to evaluate qualified candidates for Barton’s successor.

Baptist Health Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,800 employees and 260 physicians, it offers a full range of services, including cardiac and cancer care, diagnostic imaging, women’s and children’s services, surgery, emergency treatment, rehabilitation and more. It opened in 1953 as Western Baptist Hospital and recently changed its name, along with other facilities in Baptist Health, one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare systems in Kentucky. For information, see baptisthealthpaducah.com.