James Ross appointed President and CEO of West Tennessee Healthcare

JACKSON, Tenn. — The year long search to find the leader for rural West Tennessee’s largest employer comes to an end Tuesday afternoon. This, as the board of trustees of West Tennessee Healthcare named a new CEO.

For more than 30 years, James Ross has served West Tennessee. Starting as and EMT, then a registered nurse. Now he can officially add President and CEO of West Tennessee Healthcare to his resume.

“J.R. has a servant heart, that’s really important,” said the chairman after the vote.

With a unanimous vote, Tuesday afternoon the board of trustees appointed Interim CEO, James Ross, as the permanent President and CEO of West Tennessee Healthcare.

“30 years ago I never would have seen myself in this role,” the newly appointed President and CEO of West Tennessee Healthcare James Ross said.

Ross replaces Bobby Arnold who resigned in April of last year.

“Our organization is the communities health system,” West Tennessee Healthcare Director or Public Relations & Communications Beth Parnell said. “So it was important for us to do a national search.”

According to the healthcare system, Ross was chosen from a pool of more than 350 candidates from around the country. Ross says being able to fill-in as CEO over the last year has prepared him to fully take the reigns.

“It allowed me the opportunity to see things that I had not experienced before, build relationships,” Ross said.

Ross started his career in healthcare as an EMT and joined Jackson General’s staff as a nurse in 1985. Now, tasked with leading more than 5,800 employees across 18 counties, Ross says he is focused on the future.

“Meeting the need and making a difference in each life that we come in contact with,” Ross said. “That truly is what has set the course for me.”

“The best person for the job is right here in Jackson, Tennessee,” Parnell said. “I think that has so much impact, because that says great things are here in Jackson.”

When asked about how he will approach managing such a large healthcare system, the Henderson native told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News he believes relationship are what make the difference between good and great care.

Prior to taking over as Interim CEO in April of last year, Ross served as the Chief Operating Officer for West Tennessee Healthcare. A position he had held since 2009.

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