VHHA Board of Directors Elects Officers at VHREF “A Pathway to a Healthier Virginia: Navigating Healthcare Reform” Spring Conference in Williamsburg

April 29, 2016

Board Officers Include Augusta Health President and CEO Mary N. Mannix, Sentara Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael V. Gentry, and Valley Health System President and CEO Mark H. Merrill

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) elected a slate of officers to its Board of Directors this week during the Virginia Hospital Research & Education Foundation (VHREF) Spring Conference. The Board unanimously elected Augusta Health President and CEO Mary N. Mannix as Chairwoman; Sentara Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael V. Gentry as Vice Chair; and Valley Health System President and CEO Mark H. Merrill as Secretary-Treasurer. Other Board officers include Virginia Hospital Center President and CEO James B. Cole, the immediate past Chairman of the VHHA Board; and VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton.

The conference, “A Pathway to a Healthier Virginia: Navigating Healthcare Reform,” being held this week (April 27-29) in Williamsburg has brought together hospital and health system leaders and stakeholders from across the Commonwealth and beyond for a collaborative experience. This year’s successful conference attracted some 200 participants. In addition to being an opportunity for learning and engagement, the meeting was a forum for VHHA’s Board of Directors to elect a new slate of officers.

In remarks about her election as Board Chairwoman, Mannix expressed her humility and appreciation, and thanked her colleagues for their faith. Mannix also praised Cole, who “served the Association with incredible integrity and wisdom,” adding that she “will strive to serve the Association membership in accordance with the same standard of excellence Jim Cole exhibited.”

“Our foundation gives us much to be optimistic about as we move forward,” Mannix said of the Association. “I look forward to continuing our efforts to promote health care access in Virginia for the good of citizens and the state. I look forward to working arm-in-arm with my colleagues to advance the ideals of fiscally responsible health care policy. I look forward to the continued strengthening of our Association. And I look forward to productive, public engagement on behalf of health care that is beneficial to all Virginians.”

Mannix, a nurse by training who previously served as Board Vice Chair, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. As CEO of Augusta Health, an independent, community-owned, not-for-profit health system, Mannix has led a period of growth in service, quality, and physician and employee engagement. Along with its subsidiary, Augusta Medical Group, the organization is the largest employer in its region. Augusta Health has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospital and Everest Award Winner, a Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award Winner, and has been a finalist for the American Hospital Association’s Foster McGaw Award for community connection and collaboration. Mannix is chair of the Board of Directors for both Virginia Solution, SPC, and Solution Services Corporation. She is a member of Staunton Rotary. Mannix has previously served on the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board Three, the Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce, and the Blue Ridge Community College Foundation. And she was a member of the Influential Women of Virginia, Class of 2012.

As a Senior Corporate Vice President and the Chief Operating Officer for Sentara Healthcare, Gentry is responsible for the overall operations of Sentara provider divisions, including 12 hospitals, Sentara Life Care Corporation, and Sentara Enterprises. Gentry, the new VHHA Board Vice Chair, also is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the American Hospital Association. Sentara hospitals have frequently been recognized for excellence. Among those accolades: Sentara Norfolk General Hospital is nationally ranked for cardiac and ear, nose, and throat care by U.S. News & World Report; Sentara Norfolk General, Sentara RMH Medical Center, and Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center are designated Magnet Hospitals by the American Nurse Credentialing Center. Before joining Sentara, Gentry served for eight years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Hospital (FH) Memorial System. Prior to that, Gentry spent 10 years with Park Ridge Hospital in North Carolina, the last five of which he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer.

Merrill, the new VHHA Board Secretary-Treasurer, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Valley Health System, which is headquartered in Winchester and operates six hospitals, three urgent care facilities, more than 30 physician practices, and a medical transport service. Under Merrill’s leadership, Valley Health’s Winchester Medical Center has been named a “Best Hospital for Common Care” by U.S. News & World Report; a HEALTHSTRONG Hospital by iVantage Health Analytics, and a Magnet-Designated Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Prior to joining Valley Health, Merrill served as President of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas (THD and formerly Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas). He also was Executive Vice President of Texas Health Resources (THR) and co-chairman of THR’s Electronic Health Record Implementation Committee. 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 also serves as a member of the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board Three.

In addition to the Board officers, VHHA’s Executive Committee also includes Bon Secours Virginia Health System CEO Toni R. Ardabell, Carilion Clinic Executive Vice President and Carilion Medical Center CEO Steven C. Arner, and Inova Vice President and Inova Fair Oaks Hospital CEO John L. Fitzgerald.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 107 hospitals and 30 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.

Julian Walker
Vice President of Communications
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