LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Covenant Health System board of directors announced the new president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Covenant Health System at a press conference Wednesday morning.
Richard Parks will take over as C.E.O. starting next month, and he is excited about the opportunity. "I have a lot of listening and learning to do for the first weeks and months. After that, we'll come up with a game plan," said Parks.
A search committee, chaired by incoming chairman for the Covenant Health System Board of Directors Dan Pope, performed an exhaustive and highly inclusive national search that took seven months to complete. They started with more than 200 candidates, and narrowed it down to 1.
The committee was comprised of board members, physicians and community leaders. The search process also included significant input from other physicians, employees and individuals in the community.
Outgoing Board President, David Seim, says he believes this hire will end the revolving door of C.E.O.'s the organization has seen over the past few years because he feels Parks is a good fit for both the job and the community. "So many of the candidates we've had in the past, although they were capable and very smart people, have been in large metropolitan areas. It takes someone special that understands a smaller community and can fit in well," said Seim.
Search committee members also noted his experience. "He's an experienced leader in healthcare systems very much like Covenant," said Pope.
Jim Houser has been the interim CEO after the departure of Melinda Clark. Parks comes most recently from West Tennessee Healthcare in Jackson, Tennessee, and, prior to that, Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Parks left Cape Fear Valley Health System in good financial shape, but revenue dropped dramatically during his time at West Tennessee Healthcare. He says it's because of the recession. "It probably wasn't any different from a lot of health systems in '09 and late '08. We had a 23% increase in self paid population because a lot of people lost their employment," said Parks.
Covenant Board members say the financial state of his former employer do not concern them, and they are confident in their decision.
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