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Pope leaves Summa to lead seven-hospital system

10:57 am by | 0 Comments

The head of Summa Health System’s Barberton and Wadsworth-Rittman hospitals is leaving for another job opportunity in northwestern Ohio.

Jim Pope recently accepted a job as president and chief executive of Franciscan Health System, based in the Toledo suburb of Sylvania.

In his new post, Pope will oversee a Catholic health system that owns seven hospitals in Ohio and Texas, two social services in Ohio and more than a dozen ”aging-in-place” and nursing facilities in several states.

Tom DeBord, chief operating officer at Barberton and Wadsworth-Rittman hospitals, is serving as interim president for both hospitals.

Pope is staying with Summa until Aug. 12 to assist DeBord during the transition.

Pope, 52, said the decision to leave Summa was difficult.

”This is a great place to be,” he said.

But, he added, ”there aren’t that many system CEO jobs in the country. When you get a chance to take over a seven-hospital system, you jump at that chance.”

Pope joined Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital in 2005as president and chief executive of the then-independent hospital.

He expanded his role to president of both Wadsworth-Rittman and Barberton in 2008, after both hospitals were acquired by Summa.

The two hospitals have nearly 2,000 employees.

”What has differentiated my experience here versus other places I’ve been over the years is the people,” said Pope, praising the staff at both hospitals.

Pope was ”instrumental in bringing Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital into the Summa family and his vision has been instrumental in the success and growth that we have seen in both Barberton and Wadsworth,” said Thomas J. Strauss, Summa’s president and chief executive. ”He is a true friend and gifted colleague. And while I am sad that he is leaving, I could not be happier for him and his family.”

DeBord, 47, has been with the Barberton hospital for nearly 22 years. He was named chief operating officer in 2002 and expanded his role to include Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital in 2008.

”I cannot think of a more qualified person than Tom DeBord to take over the responsibilities of interim president for Summa Barberton and Summa Wadsworth-Rittman hospitals,” Strauss said. ”He is a trusted leader in our organization. I look forward to working with him in this new role and continuing to meet the health-care needs of people throughout our community.”

DeBord will continue to oversee day-to-day operations at both hospitals while serving as interim president.

”The transition should be pretty smooth,” DeBord said.

The health system has created a committee to find Pope’s permanent replacement.

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Cheryl Powell, Akron Beacon Journal

By Cheryl Powell, Akron Beacon Journal

Cheryl Powell is a health reporter for The Akron Beacon Journal, the daily newspaper in Akron and a syndication partner of MedCity News.
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