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Wednesday, 09 December 2009 15:13

Poore chosen as CEO for MedWest Health System

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Haywood Regional Medical Center CEO Mike Poore has been named as the new chief executive officer of MedWest Health System following a unanimous vote of the MedWest System Board and the recommendation of Carolinas Heathcare System.

MedWest is the name of the affiliation of Haywood Regional, Harris Regional and Swain County hospitals.

“I’m excited about the challenges of bringing these two organizations together to better serve all of our communities,” Poore said. “With the resources of WestCare, Haywood and Carolinas HealthCare integrated, we’ll be able to enhance further the healthcare of our region,”

As soon as MedWest governing board members were appointed, they faced the tough decision of picking one of two leaders vying for the position of MedWest CEO: Poore, who served as CEO of Haywood Regional Medical Center, and Mark Leonard, CEO of WestCare Health System.

Poore will assume the MedWest CEO position Jan. 1, 2010.

Leonard congratulated Poore on his appointment upon learning the news.

“I would ask the WestCare staff to give Mike the same level of commitment and dedication they have provided me,” said Leonard.

Leonard has chosen to seek other professional opportunities and will be evaluating them in the upcoming weeks and months, according to WestCare spokesman Brian Thomas.

The transitional period will take approximately six months, according to Mark Clasby, chairman of the MedWest board.

“Mike Poore will be very busy over the next few months working with the new organization and with Carolinas HealthCare System as they develop the management action plan to be presented to the MedWest board,” said Clasby.

Before serving as HRMC’s CEO, Poore served as senior vice president and administrator for two hospitals and a nursing facility in Atlanta.

The MedWest Board of Directors is made up of 14 members and has equal representation from both Haywood Regional Hospital and Harris Regional and Swain County Hospitals. Two physicians each from Haywood and WestCare also serve on the board of directors.

Both WestCare and HRMC have experienced financial difficulties over the last two years. HRMC had its Medicaid and Medicare funding yanked after failing inspections. That controversy nearly led to the hospital’s closure and prompted the resignation of former CEO David Rice and the hiring of a new administrative staff. WestCare last year announced a job reduction of up to 90 employees as it struggled to remain financially viable.

The two hospitals announced earlier this year their intention to affiliate under the name MedWest and enter a management contract with Carolinas Healthcare System out of Charlotte. The two hospitals will remain separate and keep their own boards, but Poore will act as CEO of the joint MedWest system.

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