Mercy Fort Smith names new chief operating officer

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,275 views 

Mercy Hospital Fort Smith announced Monday (April 1) that Jason Demke has joined the staff as the new chief operating officer. Demke replaces Ryan Geib, who left Mercy Fort Smith to take the position of president of Mercy Southeast Communities in Missouri.

Demke began his new position with Mercy on March 18, bringing a background in health care that includes more than a decade of leadership experience. Most recently, he was COO for West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell, Idaho, and was vice president of operations at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond, Va., according to Mercy.

Demke will oversee the ongoing expansion of the emergency department and intensive care unit at Mercy Fort Smith, among other projects. Construction began on the ER/ICU expansion in February 2022. The $186 million-expansion that is expected to add 160 jobs at Mercy Fort Smith is on schedule and expected to be complete by April 2025.

The 336-bed acute care hospital, which includes a women’s center, a cancer center, and an outpatient surgery center, is also in the process of building a new standalone cancer center in Fort Smith.

“You can feel there’s a lot of community momentum in the River Valley, which creates excitement and opportunities,” he said. “It also creates new challenges, but Mercy Fort Smith is invested in taking on those challenges by expanding access to its nationally recognized care within our communities. I knew immediately that this is where I wanted to continue to grow my career and be a part of something special.”

Jason Demke

Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Arkansas Communities, said Demke’s leadership experience makes him a great fit for his new role in Fort Smith.

“Jason will be joining Mercy during a period of great growth and expansion in the River Valley. We are confident his experience and expertise will ensure we continue to provide excellent care for our patients,” Gehrig said.

Demke said he is looking forward to being part of the Fort Smith hospital and was impressed by how co-workers connected their work to purpose, with values in alignment with his own.

Joining Demke in his relocation to Fort Smith are wife Amy and their three children, Lucy, Max and Andie.