The top executive at Cushing Memorial Hospital in Leavenworth will be taking over next month at a facility in Lee’s Summit, Saint Luke’s Health System officials said Tuesday.
Ron Baker has served as the chief executive officer at Cushing, part of the Saint Luke’s Health System, since February 2008. In early May, he will assume the CEO position at Saint Luke’s East Hospital in Lee’s Summit, Mo. He will succeed George Pagels, M.D., who assumed the leadership of the facility in 2003 during an early phase of its construction. Pagels announced in February his intention to retire.
“We have found an outstanding successor to Dr. Pagels, whose leadership has had a direct impact on the growth and success at Saint Luke’s East Hospital,” said Melinda Estes, M.D., president and CEO of Saint Luke’s Health System. “Ron is a talented executive with a track record for building collaborative relationships with staff and communities. We’re confident in his ability to continue the tradition of providing high quality care to the residents of Lee’s Summit and the surrounding communities.”
Saint Luke’s East is described in a release as a “state-of-the-art facility” at Interstate 470 and Douglas St. Opened in 2006, it now includes 125 licensed beds and employs more than 950 people, including more than 320 physicians with different specialties, according to a release from SLHS. Cushing has 74 licensed beds, its website states.
Baker will bring more than 20 years of health care management experience to his new position. He graduated from the University of Kansas with Bachelor of Arts degree in business and received a master’s degree in health administration from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He and his wife, Kathy, have two children.
A release called Baker “instrumental” in the development of plans for Saint Luke’s East. Tom Jackson, chairman of the board of Saint Luke’s Health System, said Baker’s qualities made him a natural pick. Baker, who will be moving from a hospital founded in 1894 to one of the newest health care facilities in the Kansas City metropolitan area, said he was excited to get started.
“It will be an honor to lead the incredible team at Saint Luke’s East Hospital,” Baker said. “I look forward to working with the board, medical staff, hospital employees, and community as we build on their impressive legacy of exceptional care.”
Saint Luke’s spokeswoman Kerry O’Connor said SLHS officials are searching for Baker’s successor at Cushing.
“They’re finalizing arrangements now for an interim CEO,” she said, with the announcement of a permanent replacement in the near future.