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William Brown named Baptist Health Paducah president



William A. Brown has been named Baptist Health west regional executive, effective Sept. 3, and president of Baptist Health Paducah, effective Oct. 4, following President Larry Barton’s retirement.

Brown most recently served as chief executive officer for both VHS West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, Ill., and VHS Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., owned and operated by Vanguard Health Systems (based in Nashville, Tenn.).

In the newly-created role of west regional executive, Brown will oversee both Baptist Health Paducah, as president, and Baptist Health Madisonville, which this week named Michael A. Baumgartner as president. In addition, Brown will have responsibility for the Baptist Health Foundation Paducah.

Brown has worked in healthcare for more than 35 years, including healthcare system and hospital leadership in both urban settings and smaller community hospitals.

“Highlights of Bill Brown’s broad ranging healthcare career include local and national recognition for the hospital programs he developed, strong financial successes and a commitment to one of Baptist Health’s most important core values: collaboration,” said Baptist Health CEO Steve Hanson. “Bill’s ability to recognize the power in bringing together hospitals, physicians, outpatient centers, home health and other healthcare services through a unified vision of enhancing the health of our communities strongly aligns with our mission at Baptist Health.”

Brown’s collaborative approach to leadership extends to employees and physicians, as well, based on a solid background focused on improving employee engagement and satisfaction, while working closely with physicians to ensure that top-notch patient care is guided through valuable input from the medical staff.

“The strengths we recognized as true assets for our Baptist family were those shared by the physicians who have worked collaboratively with Bill,” said Don Walker, Baptist Health Paducah Board Chairman. “He is seen as a trusted partner and advocate; an excellent communicator; accessible; and someone with a passion for service and quality patient care that results in a drive to make things better, despite these challenging times for healthcare.”     

Brown’s position represents a return to Kentucky where he spent 20 years of his career in Louisville, including 11 years with Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services and as president and CEO of Audubon Regional Medical Center (now Norton Audubon Hospital). He also served as system executive vice president and chief operating officer at Alliant Health System (now Norton Healthcare).

“My family and I look forward to making a home in Paducah and the return to Kentucky,” said Brown. “I have tremendous respect for Baptist Health and am truly impressed by the employees, physicians, board leadership and volunteers at Baptist Health Paducah. Their passion for caring for the residents of western Kentucky is evident in the outstanding achievements of this hospital, and I share their commitment to the patients we are privileged to serve.”

Baptist Health Paducah President Larry Barton announced his October retirement in May. Barton is credited with establishing expanded services and technology for area patients through extensive renovations and additions, including a Breast Imaging Center, the Baptist Heart Center and, most recently, a surgical expansion to house robotics and the area’s largest hybrid operating room.

About Baptist Health

Kentucky's Baptist Health (formerly Baptist Healthcare System), headquartered in Louisville, owns seven acute-care hospitals with more than 2,100 licensed beds in Corbin, La Grange, Lexington, Louisville, Madisonville, Paducah and Richmond.  An eighth facility, Oak Tree, is a long-term, acute-care hospital in Corbin. Baptist Health manages Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown and Russell County Hospital in Russell Springs.

For more than 85 years, Baptist Health has stood for high-quality care, patient satisfaction and nursing excellence, owning two of the four adult Magnet-designated hospitals in Kentucky. Baptist has grown its physician network to more than 450 employed physicians and more than 1,600 independent physicians. In addition to hospitals, Baptist Health includes urgent care and retail-based clinics, home health care, outpatient diagnostic and surgery centers, occupational medicine and physical therapy clinics, fitness centers and a health maintenance organization (HMO).

Baptist Health Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,700 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 has the region’s first heart center and accredited chest pain center, as well as the only certified stroke center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It opened in 1953 as Western Baptist Hospital and changed its name in early 2013, along with other facilities in Baptist Health, one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare systems in Kentucky. For information, see BaptistHealthPaducah.com.