St. Mary’s Health Care System President and CEO Don McKenna has announced that he will be taking a new position as President and CEO of Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Fla., effective January 2018.
“After much prayer and reflection, I have elected to take the next step in my career,” McKenna said in announcing his decision. “While at St. Mary’s, I have had the privilege to serve with others who demonstrate high integrity, share genuine respect and admiration for one another and embrace our core values. I will always remain grateful to all of you.”
McKenna will remain at St. Mary’s through December to ensure a smooth transition. In conjunction with Trinity Health, St. Mary’s Board of Directors is expected to launch a search for his replacement in the near future.
The move returns McKenna and his family to the southeast coast of Florida. A native of Long Island, NY, McKenna spent nearly 20 years of his early career at hospitals in Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale, Crystal River and Melbourne, Fla., before coming to St. Mary’s in 2008.
“We are deeply appreciative of everything Don has done to advance St. Mary’s and ensure access to high quality local health care across our region,” said Dr. Jean Chin, chair of St. Marys’ Board of Directors. “He has improved the health of this community; inspired countless staff, senior leadership, and newly-minted residents to excel; guided the hospital system brilliantly through the economic recession and these turbulent health care reform years; and maximized the talents of those around him. We wish him, Jana and their children all the best as they start this next chapter in their lives.”
Working collaboratively with the system board, Trinity Health, St. Mary’s medical staff and St. Mary’s general staff, McKenna lifted St. Mary’s to national recognition in stroke care, orthopedics, general surgery and cardiac care.
He led the system through unprecedented growth, highlighted by the acquisition of hospitals in Greensboro and Lavonia, including construction of a state-of-the-art replacement hospital in Greensboro. Acquisition of 25-bed St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in 2012 and of 56-bed St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital in 2015 ensured these communities continue to have access to high quality health care locally. For these efforts and more, McKenna was honored by the Georgia Association of Community Hospitals as the 2017 CEO of the year.
New technology has been a priority for McKenna. St. Mary’s introduced da Vinci robotic surgery to northeast Georgia in 2010, 3D mammography in 2015, and will introduce biplane neurointervention later this year. At the same time, McKenna has promoted ever higher standards of quality, culminating in St. Mary’s being named one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades in 2016. McKenna and his leadership team also succeeded in improving the system’s financial performance and patient perception of care, grew St. Mary’s Medical Group, and helped launch the Internal Medicine Residency Program, northeast Georgia’s first graduate medical education program for new physicians.