Heer transitions as NMHS leadership shifts

File photo John Heer will serve in a consulting role for North Mississippi Health Services until Aug. 31, 2014.

File photo
John Heer will serve in a consulting role for North Mississippi Health Services until Aug. 31, 2014.

By Michaela Gibson Morris

Daily Journal

TUPELO – North Mississippi Health Services announced some leadership realignments Thursday as it searches for top executives.

John Heer, who previously announced his resignation effective Aug. 31, 2014, will now serve in a consulting role for the Tupelo-based health care system.

“An experienced leadership team remains in place to continue to move the organization forward in this challenging environment – there will be no loss in momentum,” according to a North Mississippi Health Services announcement released Thursday.

The weight of the system’s daily management will fall to a four-person team of senior leaders:

• David Barber, president for North Mississippi Medical Clinics.

• Joe Reppert, the system’s chief financial officer.

• Bruce Toppin, system vice president and chief legal counsel.

• Dr. Mark Williams, chief medical officer.

The change came to pave the way for a search for the new chief executive. A national search is currently underway.

“The NMHS Board and John felt that the search for a new CEO would be more readily facilitated by his transitioning to a consulting role,” said Robin McGraw, chairman of the system board of directors.

On Thursday, the North Mississippi Health Services board also announced interim appointments for two key leadership positions – North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo president and system vice president for community hospitals.

Donna Lewis Pritchard, the chief nursing executive and administrator for medical services, will be the interim administrator for NMMC-Tupelo. Mike Denham, administrator of surgical services, will assume additional duties as the interim chief operating officer for the hospital.

Rodger Brown, system vice president of human resources, will take on an additional role as interim vice president of the community hospitals.

The openings in those leadership positions came this summer. Tim Moore, who served as the system’s vice president for community hospitals, was chosen to serve as the new NMMC president, but in late August, he accepted a position as the chiefexecutiveat the Mississippi Hospital Association.

Steve Altmiller, who had served as president of the hospital for four years, took a new position as chief executive of an east Texas hospital system this summer.

The searches to fill those positions are on hold to allow the new system chief executive to play a role in filling them.

michaela.morris@journalinc.com