Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Hospital Fort Smith, has been tapped to also be president of all Mercy hospitals in Arkansas, including the large Northwest Arkansas Mercy Hospital system based in Rogers. The role, to begin June 12, is new within St. Louis-based Mercy.
Mercy also has an Arkansas hospital in Berryville (Carroll County).
Eric Pianalto, president of Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, was named strategic growth officer for Mercy Arkansas. Pianalto will partner with the Mercy Clinic officials, including Dr. Scott Cooper, president of Mercy Clinic, and Amy Fore, recently named chief operating officer for Mercy Clinics Arkansas. Pianalto, Cooper and Fore are primarily tasked to expand hospital services, clinic locations and recruit primary care and specialty physicians to meet growing demand.
Gehrig, who has been the Fort Smith system president for 10 years, was vice president of enterprise systems and chief administrative officer for Moore Medical Center, a facility in the Norman Regional Health System in Oklahoma. Prior to that, he was the chief operating officer of Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg, Miss., CEO and chief operating officer of Bristow Medical Center in Bristow, Okla., and chief operating officer of Cushing Regional Hospital in Cushing, Okla.
Gehrig graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science. He received a master’s degree in health care administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. In addition, he completed an administrative residency at Hillcrest Healthcare System in Tulsa, Okla.
“Mercy has deep roots in both communities, and as Arkansas continues to grow at a rapid rate, it’s important our teams take a one-Mercy approach so we can continue to provide the highest quality, compassionate, faith-based care to the people we serve,” said Dr. John Mohart, president of Mercy communities, who leads operations for all Mercy hospitals. “Ryan is uniquely suited to unify our efforts in Arkansas and provide a seamless approach to care and service that best meets the needs of people in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.”
Mercy has has several key leadership changes in the past year. Steve Mackin became president and CEO of St. Louis-based Mercy on April 1, succeeding Lynn Britton, who now is executive chairman of the Mercy board of directors. Martine Pollard, a key member of Mercy Northwest Arkansas’ executive team, resigned in October 2021 to become vice president of the Northwest Arkansas market for Little Rock-based Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Mercy has more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient and urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 3,400 Mercy Clinic physicians and advanced practitioners, and more than 40,000 co-workers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach operations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.