Butler County hospital seeking new leader after longtime executive retires

Mercy Health-Cincinnati is narrowing its search to replace Tom Urban as Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital’s market leader and president and plans to conduct on-site interviews next month.

Urban retired from the health system earlier this month after more than 25 years, including serving as the region’s president and CEO from 2002 to 2008 until he transitioned in 2008 to Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital’s Market Leader and President.

He shepherded that institution through robust growth while ensuring that the organization provided the best quality care, according to Mercy Health officials.

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Mercy Health-Cincinnati President Dave Fikse told the Journal-News that Urban brought to the role intelligence, creativity, poise and an acumen to deal with people.

“He thrives on relationships and it’s not because he has to, but that’s just because that’s who he is,” Fikse said. “He just has a way about him that engages people and he’s very willing to listen. He’s just been a great leader, a great executor for Mercy.”

Mercy Health is the largest health system in Ohio and one that is consistently ranked as one of the top health systems in the United States for clinical performance and efficiency, according to Nanette Bentley, spokeswoman for Mercy Health-Cincinnati, which employs approximately 9,000 people.

Of those employees, more than 1,150 work at Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital and more than 1,700 are across its locations in Butler County.

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Urban was active in a variety of community activities in both Butler and Hamilton counties, including leadership roles with the West Chester/Liberty Chamber Alliance, Butler County United Way, Greater Cincinnati Health Council, Ohio Hospital Association, BRIDGES for a Just Community, Mercy Heart Mini-Marathon Executive Leadership Committee, Mt. Notre Dame High School Board, the Board of the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati and Xavier University’s College of Professional Sciences Advisory Board.

Last year, the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance honored him with its Everest Award for his contributions to growth in Interstate 75 corridor.

In 2004, he received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from Xavier University Graduate Program in Health Services Administration Alumni Association, and in 1996, he received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Southeastern Butler County Chamber of Commerce.

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Fikse tapped Shane Knisley to serve as interim president of Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital.

Knisley has been with Fairfield Hospital for a year, serving as its chief operating officer. Before joining Mercy Health, Knisley worked at Sparks Regional Medical Center as the COO for several years in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He has extensive healthcare leadership experience.

Mercy Health has launched a search for Urban’s successor, one that already has elicited dozens of resumes and seen the health system conduct screening interviews, Fikse said.

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It is in the process of narrowing down the candidates to less than half a dozen candidates and scheduling them for April site visits, he said.

Fikse said that Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital’s next president and CEO will need to be “well-grounded” in terms of a career in health care and leadership at a hospital and have “very strong health care business acumen.”

“I’m really looking for someone who has prior CEO experience with a facility,” he said. “From a standpoint of acumen, we’re really looking for someone that shadows Tom, someone who can build relationships, someone who has the charisma and demeanor that is engaging.”

Under Tom Urban’s guidance, Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital earned multiple national accolades, including:

• An ”A” grade for overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)

• Magnet recognition (twice)

• Recognition from the Joint Commission as the only hospital in Butler County to become a 5 Star Top Performer on Key Quality Measures, such as heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, immunizations and perinatal care.

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