Bart Hove, who has successfully guided Bristol Regional Medical Center to extraordinary heights during his 12 years as president, is resigning for health reasons, effective May 1.
"Recently, one of my board members brought to my attention that I was on a list of the 66 hospital and health system CEOs with the longest tenures in the country," Hove said. "That is a tremendous accomplishment that makes me proud, but after 37 years in administration and due to my own medical issues, it is time for me to step aside.
"My father died at the early age of 62 and faced his own medical issues. My family has sacrificed for my professional benefit, and it is now time to repay the debt."
Wellmont Health System will conduct a national search for Hove's replacement. In the interim, Greg Neal, president of Wellmont's community hospital division, will serve as president. Neal was Bristol Regional's chief operating officer earlier in his Wellmont career.
During Hove's impressive tenure, Bristol Regional has significantly enhanced the quality of care it delivers. The hospital was designated a Primary Stroke Center and greatly expanded its emergency department and Tennessee's only Level II trauma center. Wellmont also established a productive relationship with Med-Flight II, a flight rescue partnership with the Virginia State Police, and created its own WellmontOne medical flight service.
Bristol Regional has developed the region's most comprehensive robotics program with the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System and the da Vinci Surgical System. The hospital has also received repeated state and national recognition for its cardiovascular program.
Hove has played a major role in the opening of many other facilities, including Wellmont Hospice House; Ridgeview Pavilion, a psychiatric facility; and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southwest Virginia, a joint venture with HealthSouth. He has also overseen the development of multiple outpatient facilities, including three surgery centers, the Volunteer Parkway Imaging Center, the Wellmont Outpatient Campus in Abingdon and several physician practices.
As president of Bristol's largest employer, Hove has been actively involved in the community by serving in volunteer roles that have advanced the city's qualify of life.
"I have spent 12 ½ wonderful years with the best staff, physicians, board members and community support that I have ever experienced," Hove said. "Bristol is a great place to live, work and raise a family.
"My family and I still have decisions to make about our future. I do not know what that future holds, but I know God has a plan."
Inspired by his parents to pursue a career in healthcare administration, Hove worked at hospitals in Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida before coming to Bristol Regional. He is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and earned the 2009 Tennessee Hospital Association Award of Excellence for meritorious service.
Denny DeNarvaez, Wellmont's president and CEO, said Hove has been a tremendous leader.
"Our health system and the community will greatly miss Bart Hove," DeNarvaez said. "Though we understand the importance of his decision on a personal level, we certainly regret losing his knowledge and professional strength. His leadership and accomplishments have left an indelible mark on Wellmont, on the many community organizations he has served and on the many people he has mentored.
"Because of Bart's leadership and ability to influence others, I suspect that this new era in his life will produce equally laudable results."