Ohio hospital executive to take helm of The Medical Center in June

Six weeks after its longtime chief executive officer resigned suddenly, Columbus Regional Healthcare System has named a new leader for The Medical Center.

Ryan R. Chandler, an executive with Firelands Regional Healthcare System in northern Ohio, will follow his former boss to Columbus, the system said today. He takes the job June 25.

Chandler replaces longtime Medical Center and Columbus Regional executive Lance Duke, who stepped down April 9.

Duke had served with the system for nearly two decades in various positions. He also was passed over the top job at Columbus Regional after the departure of longtime CEO Larry Sanders.

The search for a replacement led the Columbus health-care organization to hire Sandusky, Ohio-based Firelands Regional CEO Charles “Chuck” Stark in January, with a start date of early February.

Columbus Regional spokeswoman Anne Holmes said Wednesday that Stark was in a series of meetings and unavailable for comment.

In a prepared statement, Stark said he had worked with Chandler six years.

“I was thrilled when the board, The Medical Center’s medical executive committee representatives, and the other physicians and members of senior management participating in the interview process unanimously recommended Ryan for the position of president and CEO at The Medical Center,” he said.

Chandler is currently senior vice president and chief operating officer at Firelands. He holds a bachelor of science in management degree and a master’s in healthcare administration from Louisiana State University.

Aside from The Medical Center, Doctors Hospital and Hughston Hospital, the system also operates the John B. Amos Cancer Center and Tidwell Cancer Treatment Center. It also is in a joint venture with HealthSouth in Phenix City at the Regional Rehabilitation Hospital.

Aside from Chandler’s hire, Stark is quietly, but quickly making changes at Columbus Regional.

In mid-March, the system said it is converting the emergency room at Doctors Hospital into an urgent care center, a move that will take place June 1. The Medical Center’s emergency and trauma center, expanded at a price tag of $25 million, will accommodate patients who once went to Doctors Hospital, the system said.

And while the negotiations behind a partnership with Macon, Ga.-based Mercer University took place before Stark was hired, he will be integral in making certain a satellite Mercer medical school comes to fruition without any hitches.

Both Columbus Regional and St. Francis Hospital are included in the Mercer partnership. The third- and fourth-year medical students are expected to arrive in Columbus later this year.