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Atrium Health Navicent Leaders Named to National 80 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know List

List features rural hospital leaders who work tirelessly to ensure their communities receive high-quality health care

Atrium Health Navicent Peach CEO Laura Gentry and Monroe County Hospital CEO Lorraine Smith have been named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s 80 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know in 2023 list. Two of three recognized leaders from Georgia, Gentry and Smith were also included in 2022 on the list which features rural hospital chief executive officers who work tirelessly to ensure their communities have access to the best health care services possible. While rural hospitals across the country have faced closure in recent years, these leaders have developed a model for not only surviving, but thriving.

“Atrium Health Navicent is working daily to expand health equity and improve access to health care by bringing services close to home for patients in rural communities, such as Peach and Monroe counties. These talented leaders are at the forefront of that work, and it’s an honor that they should be named to this list two years in a row,” said Atrium Health Navicent President Delvecchio Finley. “Thanks to Becker’s Hospital Review for recognizing Laura and Lorraine for all they’re doing to improve health and wellness, elevate hope and advance healing for ALL.”

Gentry joined Atrium Health Navicent in 2015 as chief nursing officer at Atrium Health Navicent Peach and became chief executive officer of the facility in March 2018. She oversees all aspects of the hospital, including managing the hospital’s budget, supervising employee engagement, meeting and exceeding quality and patient satisfaction benchmarks, handling contract negotiations and facilitating work for certifications and accreditations. Gentry is also responsible for Primary Care Fort Valley Rural Health Clinic. Under her leadership, the hospital has expanded outpatient lab and radiology services and seen growth in patient visits. In addition to her work in health care, Gentry serves on the executive committee of the Board of Trustees of Central Georgia Technical College Foundation. She began her career in health care as a registered nurse.

Smith has served as chief executive officer of Monroe County Hospital, an Atrium Health Navicent partner, since February 2018. She works closely with the hospital’s board and leaders to focus on the strategic direction, financial and operational strength, quality, and the patient experience. Under her leadership the hospital has expanded clinical service lines resulting in overall increased patient volumes and revenue, increased philanthropic support, obtained ISO 9001 quality certification, and completed hospital renovations including an emergency department expansion. Smith serves on multiple community boards and has received her board certification in health care management from the American College of Healthcare Executives. In addition to her work in health care, Smith serves as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve for over 25 years. She is currently the 8th Medical Brigade Command Sergeant Major.

Becker’s Hospital review is a source of news and information for health care decision-makers. In addition to a print magazine, Becker’s Hospital Review publishes an e-newsletter with 1 million subscribers and has 3.5 million monthly visitors on its website.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the fifth-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.