VHHA Board of Directors Elects 2018-2019 Officers at Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, Outstanding Health Care Leaders Recognized

April 26, 2018

Newly Elected Board Officers Include Valley Health System President and CEO Mark H. Merrill, Mary Washington Healthcare President and CEO Dr. Michael P. McDermott, and Carilion Medical Center President and CEO and Carilion Clinic COO Steven C. Arner

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) elected the 2018-2019 slate of officers to its Board of Directors during this week’s VHHA Annual Meeting. The Board unanimously elected Valley Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Mark H. Merrill as Chairman; Mary Washington Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Michael P. McDermott as Vice Chairman; and Carilion Clinic Chief Operating Officer and Carilion Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Arner as Secretary-Treasurer. Other Board officers include Sentara Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael V. Gentry, the immediate past Chairman of the VHHA Board; and VHHA President and Chief Executive Officer Sean T. Connaughton.

Formerly known as the Spring Conference, the Annual Meeting held this week (April 25-27) in Williamsburg brings together hospital and health system leaders and other health care stakeholders from across the Commonwealth and beyond for a collaborative experience. The Annual Meeting aims to have representation from every Virginia hospital and health system; engage a wider audience, including early and mid-careerists; and reinforce the work being done at VHHA on behalf of its members. The theme of this year’s conference hosted by the Virginia Hospital Research & Education Foundation (VHREF) is “The Business of Health.”

“Our health care delivery system is rapidly changing as a result of innovation, advances in care, and emerging treatment options,” said Merrill. “The dedicated and caring people who work in Virginia hospitals are focused on improving health care quality, safety, value, and service, and continuously working to improve so we can better serve patient needs. By collaborating with our peers in the hospital community, we can learn from each other to enhance our organizations as we strive to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Shared learning events like the VHHA Annual Meeting are an opportunity to gain new ideas and encourage that improvement work. As the newly elected VHHA Board Chairman, I thank my colleagues for the faith they have placed in me and I look forward to helping continue our collaborative work on improving public health in the Commonwealth.”

In addition to the election of new officers, recipients of VHHA’s Outstanding Service Awards are recognized at the Annual Meeting. This year, VHHA presented the Distinguished Service Award to John L. Fitzgerald, CEO of Inova Fair Oaks Hospital; the Excellence in Governance Award to Alda L. White, Immediate Past Chair of the Mary Washington Healthcare Board of Trustees; the Excellence in Governance Award to Robert “Bob” Fort, Past Board Chair of Sentara Healthcare; and the Meritorious Service Award to Nathaniel L. Bishop, D.Min., President of the Jefferson College of Health Sciences.

Emerging health care leaders who received awards in the new 4 Under 40 category are also being honored. The award recipients include Brannelly Batman, Nurse Manager with UVA Health System; Taryn Overman, Emergency Department Senior Director with Virginia Hospital Center; Ryan Stuhlreyer, Vice President for Chronic Conditions with Bon Secours Virginia Health System; and Amanda Wilson, Medical Quality Coordinator with Augusta Health.

This year’s successful conference has attracted more than 200 participants to the forum that presents an opportunity for learning and engagement. Annual Meeting keynote speakers include Dr. Pritpal S. Tamber, former Physician Editor of TEDMED and Co-Founder of the Creating Health Collaborative; Phillip Newbold, former CEO of Beacon Health System in South Bend, IN; Barbara Blevins of The Studer Group; and Matt Thornhill of SIR. Panel discussions on health care delivery and sustainability provide a forum for Virginia health care experts to share with their colleagues. The conference also serves as a venue for the election of new officers to VHHA’s Board of Directors. The new officers are:

Mark H. Merrill, the new VHHA Board Chairman, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Valley Health System, which is headquartered in Winchester and operates six hospitals, five urgent care facilities, more than 30 physician practices, and a medical transport service. Under Merrill’s leadership, Valley Health has built three new Critical Access Hospitals, expanded specialty outreach services, been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Regional Hospital (Winchester Medical Center) and Best Nursing Home (Warren Memorial Hospital), and maintained Magnet Nursing status at Winchester Medical Center. Prior to joining Valley Health, Merrill served as President of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and also was Executive Vice President of Texas Health Resources. Before that, Merrill worked in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Hospital Center/Medlantic Healthcare Group (now MedStar Health) where he served in various corporate and hospital executive management positions. Merrill served two terms on the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board Three. He was named to Virginia Business magazine’s 2017 and 2018 Most Influential Virginians list. Merrill received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Science in Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Michael McDermott, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mary Washington Healthcare, is the new Vice Chairman. Mary Washington Healthcare is a not-for-profit, fully integrated, regional medical system that provides emergency, inpatient, and outpatient care through over 40 service locations in the Fredericksburg region, including two hospitals. Mary Washington Hospital is a Magnet Nursing Facility and was regionally ranked in 2016 as number 6 in Virginia and number 4 in the Washington Metro Region for Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Mary Washington Healthcare is a recipient of the Achievement in Performance Excellence Award from the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Award Program. Mary Washington is Joint Commission certified for Advanced Primary Stroke Center, Advanced Certification in Heart Failure, Advanced Certification in Hip and Knee Replacement
Surgeries, and is an American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accredited program. A diagnostic and interventional radiologist, McDermott practiced medicine in Fredericksburg for 17 years with the Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg and served in a variety of leadership and governance roles with Mary Washington Healthcare prior to his selection as President and CEO in 2015. In 2016, McDermott was named one of the Top 110 Physician Leaders to Know by Becker’s Hospital Review and is a Fellow by the Society of Interventional Radiology. McDermott received his undergraduate degree from Villanova University and his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. His residency and fellowship were completed at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore. He is Board Certified in Diagnostic and Vascular and Interventional Radiology. McDermott earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Steven C. Arner, the Carilion Clinic Chief Operating Officer and Carilion Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer, is the new Secretary-Treasurer. Arner is responsible for all activities at Carilion Medical Center. He began his career at Carilion in 1996, serving in various finance roles, including as budget team leader and manager. Arner’s previous leadership roles at Carilion include Senior Vice President with responsibility for Surgical Services, Maintenance and Engineering, Environmental Services, and Cardiac and Vascular Services; Vice President of Cardiac and Vascular Services; Vice President of Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital; and Director of Human Resources, Compensation, and Metrics. From 2002-2003, Arner was an associate in CIGNA’s HealthService Leadership Program. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce and Feeding America Southwest Virginia. And he is a state alternate delegate for the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board.

In addition to the Board officers, VHHA’s Executive Committee also includes Augusta Health President and Chief Executive Officer Mary N. Mannix, UVA Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Pamela M. Sutton-Wallace, and Inova Vice President and Inova Fair Oaks Hospital CEO John L. Fitzgerald.

VHHA and VHREF extend thanks to the corporate partners and sponsors who have helped support the Annual Meeting. VHREF’s corporate partners are Novo Nordisk, US Acute Care Solutions, and VHHA Shared Services. The Annual Meeting sponsors include Hancock, Daniel & Johnson, P.C., Lumos Networks, and RCM&D (gold sponsors); Meadows & Ohly, MedStream, SOUND Physicians, and Wheless Partners (silver sponsors); and Averett University, Barton Malow, New Health Analytics Omnicell, and VCU School of Allied Health Professions (event sponsors).

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 27 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and


New VHHA Board Chairman Mark H. Merrill (L), President and CEO of Valley Health System, accepts the Chairman’s Gavel from outgoing Board Chairman Michael V. Gentry (R), Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Sentara Healthcare.


Julian Walker
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