The effects of a tumultuous 2020 were still evident in 2021. Now, the region’s business, political and civic leaders are helping bring their organizations into a new era. We hope this 13th edition of the In Charge list is not unlucky. Those on it embody what it means to be “in charge,” and it will be up to them to make sure the city and state continue their collective forward trajectory.
See the In Charge lists for other industries here.
Tim Adams — CEO, Saint Thomas Health: Former Tenet executive who took over local hospital system from Karen Springer at the beginning of 2018. Has since added joint replacement and critical care capacity, partnered on mental and behavioral health hospitals in Nashville and expanded specialty services.
Hal Andrews — CEO, Trilliant Health: Helped lead Digital Reasoning and Shareable, among others, before taking over at data and analytics venture that brought together Aegis Health and Clariture.
Richard Ashworth — President and CEO, Tivity Health: Pharmacist and former Walgreens executive took top spot at Tivity in 2020 and oversaw company’s $575 million sale of Nutrisystem. Company reported a revenue increase of 26 percent in the last quarter of 2021.
Cindy Baier — CEO, Brookdale Senior Living: Former company CFO and Navigant and Central Parking exec has steered Brookdale through restructuring and sales. In 2021, raised wages in certain markets amid “intense” labor market.
Jack Bailey — Managing Director, Bailey Southwell & Co.: Has 20-plus years of middle-market deal experience and in 2005 founded Brentwood-based investment bank that has worked on deals worth more than $15 billion. In 2018 launched equity fund with a portfolio spanning health care services and technology.
Michael Bailey — CEO, American Health Partners: Leads Franklin-based provider of long-term care and other health care services. Company in 2021 was purchased by a Michigan investment firm.
Jeff Balser — President and CEO, Vanderbilt University Medical Center: Has led hospital system since 2009 and oversaw its 2016 separation from Vanderbilt University, where he remains dean of med school.
John Bass — CEO, Hashed Health: Health IT veteran who helped lead InVivoLink and empactHealth.com and who now oversees team building blockchain-based use cases and partnerships.
Bill Bates — Founding Dean, Belmont University College of Medicine: Longtime local academic was previously with Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and University of Tennessee Medical Center. Preparing to welcome first students at future med school in 2023.
Adam Boehler — CEO, Rubicon Founders: Former director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation in the Trump administration set up shop in Nashville. Firm has already made several investments in the health care sector.
Marty Bonick — President and CEO, Ardent Health Services: 25-year hospital operations veteran now overseeing Ardent’s 30 facilities and more than 26,000 employees. Formerly led PhyMed and Community Health Systems.
Chuck Byrge — President and CEO, Harpeth Capital: Has three decades of experience in M&A and capital raising and took over at Harpeth in 2005 after leading FTN Financial’s i-banking team. Recently closed $307 million fund in partnership with health care REIT Montecito.
Ed Caldwell — CEO, CarePayment: Last year succeeded Craig Hodges at the helm of patient engagement and care-financing company. Initially joined the company as chief revenue officer.
Ed Cantwell — President and CEO, Center for Medical Interoperability: Heads up nonprofit research lab tasked with developing standards and systems around sharing health care data. Communications industry veteran previously was with West Health Institute and 3M’s wireless division.
Devin Carty — CEO, Martin Ventures: Leads investment firm with a specialty in health care technology and tech-enabled services. In 2021, reported busiest year to date, including investments in 12 new companies and exits from five companies.
Stu Clark — CEO, Premise Health: Former CHD Meridian exec who oversaw 2014 worksite health care merger that created Premise. Sits on board of Nashville Health Care Council.
Dick Cowart — Shareholder, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz: Longtime leader of firm’s health and public policy group. Works with for-profit and nonprofit providers on policy and governance issues.
Bob Crants — Founding Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Pharos Capital Group: Co-founded with Kneeland Youngblood firm that has continued to invest in home health and other businesses.
Neil de Crescenzo — CEO, Change Healthcare: Oracle veteran took over at former Emdeon in 2013. Continues to work on acquisition by UnitedHealth Group in face of federal scrutiny.
Michael Cuffe — Chief Clinical Officer and Executive Vice President, HCA: Was elevated at year’s start to succeed Jonathan Perlin. Held previous roles with Duke University.
Nancy-Ann DeParle — Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Consonance Capital Partners: Formerly headed White House Office of Health Reform in the Obama administration. Serves as director at CVS and HCA while managing portfolio in health care private equity.
David Dill — CEO, LifePoint Health: Picked in 2018 to lead new iteration of LifePoint following union with RCCH HealthCare Partners. Joined company in 2007 and was previously president and COO. In 2021 launched a health tech incubator.
Dan Elrod — Attorney, Butler Snow: Veteran member of firm’s health care regulatory and transactions group. Certificate-of-need and licensing expert successfully helped guide VUMC through contested plan to expand to Rutherford County.
Bill Frist — Co-Founder and Partner, Frist Cressey Ventures: Former U.S. Senate majority leader and founder of nonprofit NashvilleHealth, which recently announced with Belmont a project to use data to study hypertension in Nashville. A transplant surgeon by training, also holds a special partner position at private equity firm Cressey and Company.
Bobby Frist — Chairman and CEO, HealthStream: Co-founder of health care workforce development company now based at Capitol View. Company paused acquisitions in early 2020 but has since gone on a spending spree.
Harrison Frist — CEO, naviHealth: Was promoted at the start of the year to CEO at post-acute care management company. Succeeded Clay Richards, who moved to an advisory role at parent company Optum.
David Grams — CEO, Compassus: Formerly president of the Brentwood-based home health care services provider, was elevated to CEO at start of year, succeeding Jim Deal.
John Graves — Associate Professor of Health Policy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center: Led Vanderbilt’s Department of Health Policy in modeling COVID-19 trends in Tennessee, providing valuable insight on the novel coronavirus to local and state public health officials. Conducts interdisciplinary research on the intersection of health economics and policy.
Julie Gray — Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Meharry Medical College: Dentist-turned-administrator was among Meharry officials spearheading ambitious effort in partnership with the city to test thousands of residents for COVID-19.
David Guth — CEO, Centerstone: Co-founded nonprofit behavioral health provider and has steadily grown its footprint via acquisitions.
Brian Haile — CEO, Neighborhood Health: Former TennCare deputy COO and Jackson Hewitt exec who was recruited in 2017 to replace primary care organization’s longtime leader Mary Bufwack. Nonprofit has been at center of Nashville’s COVID testing and vaccine efforts.
Jay Hardcastle — Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings: Former Boult Cummings managing director and one of city’s top health care advisers. Works with providers on M&A, joint ventures, Medicare/Medicaid issues and whistleblower defenses.
Sam Hazen — CEO, HCA Healthcare: Took reins from Milton Johnson at city’s most prominent health care company after two years as president. Started with hospital giant in early 1980s before overseeing Western Group and being named COO in 2015.
James Hildreth — President and CEO, Meharry Medical College: Took over one of nation’s oldest and largest historically Black academic health science centers in 2015. Has been a regional and national leader in public health battle against COVID while laying out ambitious growth plans for Meharry.
Tim Hingtgen — CEO, Community Health Systems: Was promoted twice in 2016 into top operations role and at beginning of 2021 took over top job from longtime boss Wayne Smith. Joined CHS in 2008 as VP of operations.
Rusty Holman — Founder, 1821 Health: Since leaving role as chief medical officer at LifePoint, has built firm focused on leadership development in the health care field.
Christopher Hunter — CEO, Acadia Healthcare: In April was named to succeed Debbie Osteen at the Franklin-based behavioral health company. Has held previous positions at Humana, TriZetto and BlueCross BlueShield.
Harry Jacobson — Co-Founder and Partner, TriStar Health Partners: Former VUMC CEO has founded more than 10 companies and mentored countless others. Works with multiple investment firms, including Iroquois Capital.
Shubhada Jagasia — President and CEO, Ascension Saint Thomas Midtown and West Hospitals: Former VUMC adult hospital chief of staff was tapped to lead two Saint Thomas locations in 2021, replacing Fahad Tahir.
Alex Jahangir — Chairman, Metro Board of Health: Vanderbilt trauma surgeon turned local household name as lead of city’s COVID-19 task force. Advised on public policy and tracked local disease trends. Coordinated response efforts among hospitals, testing sites, labs and other entities.
David Jarrard — President and CEO, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock: Veteran communications strategist and adviser to health systems and entrepreneurs who leads team that has worked with more than 400 clients in most states.
Michele Johnson — Executive Director and Co-Founder, Tennessee Justice Center: Runs nonprofit open since 1996, advocating for access to health care and other basic needs. Most recently has been leading the front against the TennCare block grant policy proposal.
Bill Kampine — Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare Bluebook: Helps lead team focused on cost transparency in the historically difficult sector. Held previous positions with CareSteps and Healthways and has consulted for companies in the health, insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
David Katzman — CEO and Chairman, SmileDirectClub: Former venture capitalist who helped found teledentistry company disrupting traditional orthodontics industry. Led company through launch of IPO and currently working to rightsize the organization.
A.J. Kazimi — President and CEO, Cumberland Pharmaceuticals: Founded the company in 1999 and has since managed more than $100 million through equity and debt financing, as well as its IPO. Saw a big win in late 2021 when the FDA approved the company’s ibuprofen injection.
Wendy Long — President and CEO, Tennessee Hospital Association: Former TennCare chief and Metro Public Health Department director. Earned her current title in 2019 after search to replace THA veteran Craig Becker. Lately has been a central voice on hospital staffing challenges that followed the onset of COVID-19.
Charlie Martin — Chairman, Martin Ventures: Veteran hospital company builder and ex-Vanguard Health CEO in 2013 returned full-time to investment firm he founded to evangelize for technology as a way to simplify and improve health care. Firm enjoyed busiest year yet in 2021.
Phil Mazzuca — CEO, Williamson Medical Center: Former CHS operations exec took lead at WMC in 2021. Medical center and its leaders have played key role in county’s COVID-19 response.
Russ Miller — CEO, Tennessee Medical Association: 32-year TMA veteran was promoted to chief executive role in 2013. Most recently the association has been pushing for policies surrounding the opioid epidemic and balance billing solutions.
Bruce Moore — President of Service Line and Operations Integration, HCA Healthcare: Joined hospital giant more than three decades ago and more recently has overseen oncology, urgent care and surgery center businesses.
Frank Morgan — VP of Investor Relations, HCA Healthcare: Longtime outside health care analyst at RBC Capital and Jeffries (and a former J.C. Bradford partner) moved to the inside in 2021, joining the Nashville-based hospital company as the new investor relations lead.
Jeff Patton — President and CEO, OneOncology: Longtime leader of Tennessee Oncology who in 2020 took over from Tracy Bahl. Holding company for various cancer care ventures in 2018 launched with $200 million in backing and has since expanded across the nation.
Clay Phillips — VP, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee: Joined state’s largest insurer in 2006 to direct government relations and took on current role in 2013. Manages provider networks and leads work on ACOs and other alternative payment options.
Lisa Piercey — Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health: Former health systems operations executive at West Tennessee Healthcare has co-led statewide COVID-19 response, including testing logistics, hospital surge planning, data delivery, contact tracing and public health policy.
C. Wright Pinson — Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center: Plays point on partnerships with regional providers. In recent history, completed acquisitions of Tennova and CHS facilities and aligned with UT-led health network.
Jim Rechtin — President and CEO, Envision Healthcare: Former OptumCare and DaVita Medical Group exec came to physician staffing company in 2020. Led adaptation of service offerings through pandemic, including helping hospitals flex clinician workforce during surges.
Michelle Robertson — COO and Chief Nursing Officer, Saint Thomas Health: Former pediatric nurse hired in 2017 from parent organization Ascension’s Texas arm to run day-to-day operations for nine-hospital system that employs more than 8,000 people.
Bill Rutherford — CFO, HCA Healthcare: 30-plus-year HCA veteran has led the company through industry-defying financial performance. Steered finances of network through pandemic turmoil.
Jerry Shelton — President and CEO, Cryoport: Moved life science logistics company to Brentwood in 2021 and began rapid global expansion. Saw revenues increase 183 percent from 2020 to 2021.
Saurabh Sinha — CEO, emids: In 1999 co-founded health IT systems company now home to more than 2,500 people. Continues to expand via acquisition as pandemic fuels digital health revolution.
Danielle Sloane — Member, Bass Berry & Sims: Works with life science and health care companies on federal and state laws and regulations. Clients have included physician practices, hospitals and medical device companies.
Brad Smith — Founder and CEO, Russell Street Ventures: Previously co-founder and CEO of Aspire Health, then worked in the Trump administration as, among other roles, director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and on the Operation Warp Speed vaccine development program. Now focused on launching and scaling health care companies.
Jim Sohr — Chairman, Powered Health: Co-founder and former CEO of the former AIM Healthcare who launched Powered in 2013 to house health IT investments. Portfolio includes Perception Health, Xsolis and Relatient.
Fahad Tahir — Chief Strategy Officer, Ascension Saint Thomas: Until 2021, was CEO of Saint Thomas’ West and Midtown campuses. Moved into new role upon hiring of Shubhada Jagasia.
Joanne Thornton — CEO, ReviveHealth: Co-founder of health care marketing firm took on CEO role in 2021, as Brandon Edwards transitioned to executive chairman. Had been president of the firm, which has offices in Nashville, Santa Barbara, Minneapolis and Boston.
Brent Turner — CEO, Summit BHC: Former Acadia and Psychiatric Solutions exec joined addiction treatment and behavioral health network as CEO in 2020.
Kyle Wailes — CEO, Wellvana: Former SmileDirectClub CFO took the helm at Wellvana in early 2022. Martin Ventures-backed company creates networks of independent health care providers.
Jennifer Weaver — Co-Chair of Healthcare Industry Team, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis: Newly named (along with Eric Scalzo) leader of 200-member practice group. Has experience as a litigator defending providers.
Joseph Webb — CEO, Nashville General Hospital: Former Methodist Le Bonheur exec and TSU alum still pushing to improve finances of Metro-owned hospital. Fought off ex-Mayor Megan Barry’s proposal to end inpatient care.
Sam Weinstein — CEO, SpecialtyCare: Promoted to chief executive role after serving as president and CMO when acquired by Kohlberg & Co. in 2017. Has since been expanding its network across the country. In 2021 was acquired by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.
Phil Wenk — President and CEO, Delta Dental of Tennessee: Former dentist who joined insurer in 1997 and was picked to lead it in early 2000. Carrier works with more than 2,100 employer groups.
Steve Wilson — CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Tennessee: Has been with giant insurer, which is still trying to buy Change Healthcare, for more than a decade and leads unit that has more than $1 billion in sales.
Karen Winkfield — Executive Director, Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance: Radiation oncologist now oversees strategic partnership between Vanderbilt and Meharry. In 2021 was named by President Joe Biden to the National Cancer Advisory Board.
Mark Yancy — CEO, NashvilleHealth: Earlier this year was named the leader of the nonprofit founded by Bill Frist. Previously held positions at DaVita Kidney Care, Anthem and Methodist Le Bonheur.