Wayne NeSmith, former president of the Florida Hospital Association, died Sunday at age 78.
He passed away at his Tallahassee home after an extended illness.
NeSmith retired in 2008 after seven years as the FHA's leader and after 39 years of work in hospital associations in Florida. After his retirement, he consulted with healthcare organizations for several years.
In 2001, NeSmith spearheaded a merger between the Florida Hospital Association and two other hospital trade groups to form the state's largest healthcare lobbying group.
That merger eventually led to Tenet Healthcare's departure from the Florida Hospital Association in 2004.
Two years later, NeSmith survived an effort by HCA to force him out. At that time, HCA ended its membership in the Florida Hospital Association.
When NeSmith retired in 2008 at age 67 at the end of his contract, he denied that HCA's move had pushed him to leave. "It's time for me to move on," he told Modern Healthcare.
NeSmith's survivors include his wife Joyce, two sons Brian and Stephen, and five grandchildren.
The family is planning a memorial service some time in the spring. Details will be posted at bevisfh.com