New boss named for Baptist Health hospitals in Fort Smith and Van Buren

by Talk Business and Politics ([email protected]) 7,039 views 

Kim Miller, a former registered nurse, has been named incoming president of Baptist Health Western Region, which includes hospitals in Fort Smith and Van Buren and associated clinics in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

Miller’s tenure is set to begin April 20, according to Tuesday’s (March 10) statement from Baptist Health. Harrison Dean, a 37-year veteran with Baptist Health, is the Western Region president but has announced plans to retire.

“We knew that this time was coming for Harrison and we couldn’t be more appreciative for his years of commitment to Baptist Health and for his service to western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma,” Troy Wells, president and CEO of Little Rock-based Baptist Health, said in a statement. “At the same time, we are thrilled to be adding a seasoned and proven leader to compliment the team that is in place in the Western Region.”

Miller, who will manage the about 1,600 employees in the Western Region, recently served as president and CEO of Beaver Dam Community Hospitals Inc. in Beaver Dam, Wisc.

“I’m very excited to be joining the Baptist Health family in Arkansas and getting to know the people in the River Valley,” Miller said. “I believe our caregivers are our most valuable asset and I am looking forward to investing in this group of people and helping to provide River Valley residents the excellent patient care they deserve.”

Miller has more than 40 years of health care experience, which includes work as a registered nurse. She is a board-certified fellow from the American College of Healthcare Executives, and received a master’s degree in business administration from St. Francis University in Pennsylvania.

Kim Miller, incoming president of Baptist Health Western Region

Baptist Health has 11 hospitals, urgent care centers, a senior living community and more than 100 primary and specialty care clinics, and 11,000 employees in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

Baptist Health System acquired in July 2018 what was then Sparks Health System from Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems (CHS). The deal closed in the fourth quarter of 2018. A transaction amount was not disclosed.

Prior to 2018, Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates acquired Sparks in a $138-million deal that closed Nov. 30, 2009. It was that transaction that resulted in funding for the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE), the parent organization of the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Health Sciences. The Degen Foundation, a Fort Smith-based philanthropy, was created with some of the revenue from the sale of Sparks to HMA, providing initial ACHE funding to build a $32.4 million facility in east Fort Smith in the Chaffee Crossing area. The school opened in August 2017 and is housed in the three-story, 102,000-square-foot building. A fully operational osteopathic college is expected to serve about 600 students when all four classes are full.

Then, in a deal that closed in early 2014, Sparks was part of the sale of HMA to CHS, a company whose portfolio of hospitals was then nearly double the size of HMA’s portfolio. The $7.6 billion deal closed in early 2014.