Roger LeonardRoger Leonard Named Chairman Of Wellmont's Board Of Directors, Highlights Health System's Quality

Roger Leonard, a respected community leader and a senior adviser for a national boutique investment bank, has been elected chairman of Wellmont Health System's board of directors.

Leonard succeeds T. Arthur "Buddy" Scott Jr., who steadily led the board during his term the last two years and will continue to serve as immediate past chairman. Bringing a breadth of financial and operations management expertise that has assisted the health system considerably during his five years on the board, Leonard will guide the panel as it builds on Wellmont's position as the healthcare provider of choice in the region.

"It's a privilege to serve as chairman for a forward-thinking health system that delivers an exceptional level of care," Leonard said. "Wellmont's facilities and medical practices have been at the forefront of healthcare innovation for generations, and we are well on the way toward achieving our vision of delivering the best health care anywhere."

Assessing Wellmont's services, Leonard said the nationally recognized Wellmont CVA Heart Institute and Wellmont Cancer Institute are second to none. He said Wellmont's quality of care is spread across multiple programs and facilities and will only grow stronger as the health system proceeds with its strategic options analysis.

Leonard said he observed the compassionate and coordinated care his mother received from a variety of medical professionals, including neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons and oncologists, across the Wellmont platform. He said the skill and knowledge of all her caregivers not only saved her life but allowed her to enjoy a high quality of life with those she loves.

"Every day, I am touched by the commitment demonstrated by our physicians and all other medical professionals to serve the needs of people entrusted to our care," Leonard said. "Their dedication, extensive training and the seriousness with which they embrace safety, quality and service is inspiring. For them, it's not just a profession, it's a calling."

For several months, the Wellmont board has been engaged in evaluating the health system's future with a thorough process. Earlier this year, the organization issued requests for proposals from health systems that were interested in some form of alignment with Wellmont. Leonard applauds the way the board has handled this review, saying it will maintain Wellmont's regional leadership.

"I'm very impressed with the methodical and disciplined approach we have taken with our strategic options committee with assistance we have received from our consultant, Kaufman Hall & Associates," he said. "Our organization and patients have been well-served because we entered this process from a position of clinical strength and relative financial stability. By showing this foresight at an early stage, we control this review and will secure the best possible outcome for the communities we are privileged to serve."

As he embarks on his two-year term, Leonard is focused on ensuring all Wellmont facilities continue to pursue a systemwide approach to healthcare delivery. He said this sharing and standardizing of best practices will enhance Wellmont's safety, quality and efficiency. The savings these methods achieve will enable Wellmont to devote more resources toward an optimal patient care experience.

Leonard also wants rural areas and economically disadvantaged groups to receive the care they deserve. This has become more challenging because of the federal government's reimbursement cuts and Virginia's and Tennessee's failure to expand Medicaid. To continue meeting these needs, Leonard said, Wellmont will have to creatively work with its community partners to develop an economically sustainable model of care.

Wellmont is well-equipped to achieve this goal as the low-cost, high-quality provider in the region, he said.

Scott said these worthwhile goals illustrate why Leonard was an excellent choice to be the board's next chairman.

"Having served with Roger for several years, I have been impressed with his business acumen and understanding of our health system's capabilities," Scott said. "I am confident he will be an outstanding leader as we continue to deliberate the next course for our organization. Our health system will be in excellent hands."

Denny DeNarvaez, president and CEO, said Wellmont will experience a seamless transition from one outstanding chairman to another.

"Roger has been an integral member of our board and provided wise counsel to me and our senior leadership," DeNarvaez said. "His commitment to our mission, vision and values has contributed greatly to our health system's success and positioned us well to continue meeting the needs of our patients. As a longtime resident in the region, Roger understands the fabric of our communities and is dedicated to preserving our high caliber of care."

Leonard is a senior adviser to England & Company, which is based in Washington and concentrates on supporting the growth of middle market companies. He has been an adjunct faculty member at King University, teaching corporate finance and operations management. He previously served as president and chief operating officer of Electro-Mechanical Corp.

After receiving a bachelor's degree in operations management from the University of Tennessee, Leonard obtained a master's degree in business administration from Wake Forest University. He also completed the program for management development at Harvard Business School. Leonard is now pursuing a master's degree in theological studies from Duke Divinity School.

He is married to Carol Steffner Leonard, and they have two adult children.