After a three-month search, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. named a regional National Medical Enterprises executive to plug a key hole in its top management ranks.
James "Denny" Shelton, 40, last week was named president of Columbia/HCA's central group, which comprises 51 hospitals in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. He will be responsible for Columbia/HCA hospitals that generate $400 million annually in earnings before depreciation, interest and taxes.
Mr. Shelton is expected to start his duties on June 20. A 10-year NME veteran, he now is based in Dallas as executive vice president for the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company's central district of 23 hospitals.
Mr. Shelton will remain in Dallas where he will establish a Columbia regional office.
In March, Louisville, Ky.-based Columbia/HCA announced a management structure that includes five group presidents who answer directly to David Vandewater, Columbia/HCA's chief operating officer. Four of the five presidents were announced at that time, but the "central group" slot had remained unfilled (March 7, p. 4).
"I have a reputation of being a developer," said Mr. Shelton in an interview with MODERN HEALTHCARE. About his plans, Mr. Shelton said, "There needs to be a strategy beyond the syndication strategy," adding that he plans to make physicians "not just investment partners." In selected urban markets, Columbia/HCA has offered physicians an opportunity to invest in the company's local network through a syndication. Physicians typically are offered 20% equity.
Mr. Shelton said he put together what he describes as NME's most comprehensive network, a New Orleans-area system that includes eight hospitals, two long-term-care facilities and four independent physician practice associations.
In addition, Mr. Shelton said he handled the only two hospital deals that NME has completed in the past two years-this month's lease of Doctors Hospital of Jefferson, Metairie, La., and the 1992 acquisition of Humana McFarland Hospital, Lebanon, Tenn. NME has spent most of the past two years divesting hospitals, particularly rehabilitation and psychiatric facilities.