2021 In Charge – Health Care

Each year, our In Charge list brings together business, political and civic leaders from all corners of the Middle Tennessee landscape. This year's list is our 12th iteration and features roughly 500 people driving change across the region. We thank our friends and colleagues at the Scene and Nfocus for their help in creating it.


Tim Adams — CEO, Saint Thomas Health: Former Tenet executive who took over local hospital system from Karen Springer at beginning of 2018. Has since added joint replacement and critical care capacity, partnered on mental and behavioral health hospitals in Nashville and expanded specialty services.

Hal Andrews — CEO, Trilliant Health: Helped lead Digital Reasoning and Shareable, among others, before taking over at data and analytics venture that brought together Aegis Health and Clariture. Most recently experienced a 20-percent growth and has situated the company to build out its data science and technology teams.

Richard Ashworth — President and CEO, Tivity Health: Pharmacist and former Walgreens executive took top spot at Tivity in June and oversaw company’s $575 million sale of Nutrisystem.

Cindy Baier — CEO, Brookdale Senior Living: Former company CFO (and Navigant and Central Parking exec) has steered the company through restructuring and property sales from the company’s 800-community portfolio since taking over in early 2018.

Jack Bailey — Managing Director, Bailey Southwell & Co.: Has 20-plus years of middle-market deal experience and in 2005 founded Brentwood-based investment bank that has worked on deals worth more than $15 billion. In 2018 launched equity fund with a portfolio spanning health care services and technology.

Michael Bailey — CEO, American Health Partners: Founder of Windsor Health Group which in 2010 was purchased by German company Munich Re for $125 million. Also co-founded MedSolutions, Inc. (now Evicore) and National Imaging Affiliates.

Jeff Balser — President and CEO, Vanderbilt University Medical Center: Has led $3.2 billion hospital system since 2009 and oversaw its 2016 separation from Vanderbilt University, where he remains dean of med school. Recently purchased three hospitals in Lebanon, Shelbyville and Tullahoma from Community Health Systems.

John Bass — CEO, Hashed Health: Health IT veteran who helped lead InVivoLink and empactHealth.com and who now oversees team-building blockchain-based use cases and partnerships.

Bill Bates — Founding Dean, Belmont University College of Medicine: Longtime local academic was previously with Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and University of Tennessee Medical Center. Helping to establish Belmont’s new medical school.

Marty Bonick — President and CEO, Ardent Health Services: 25-year hospital operations veteran now overseeing Ardent’s 30 facilities and more than 26,000 employees. Formerly led anesthesia and pain management company PhyMed and publicly traded Community Health Systems.

Chuck Byrge — President and CEO, Harpeth Capital: Has three decades of experience in M&A and capital raising and took over at Harpeth in 2005 after leading FTN Financial’s i-banking team. Recently led funding into health care analytics company Embold Health, which announced a partnership with Walmart months after.

Ed Cantwell — President and CEO, Center for Medical Interoperability: Heads up five-year-old nonprofit research lab tasked with developing standards and systems around sharing health care data. Communications industry veteran was previously with West Health Institute and 3M’s wireless division.

Devin Carty — CEO, Martin Ventures: Former Vanguard chief marketing officer and Cancer Treatment Centers of America strategy and talent chief who in 2017 was promoted from COO at Charlie Martin’s investment firm. Co-founded and sits on the board of Wellvana Health and Trilliant Health.

Stu Clark — CEO, Premise Health: Former CHD Meridian exec who oversaw 2014 worksite health care merger that created Premise and last year bought CareHere to grow revenues past $1 billion. Sits on the board of Nashville Health Care Council and serves as an adviser for Nashville Capital Network.

Dick Cowart — Shareholder, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz: Firm board member and 25-year leader of its health and public policy group leader. Works with for-profit and nonprofit providers on policy and governance issues.

Bob Crants — Founding Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Pharos Capital Group: Co-founded with Kneeland Youngblood firm that manages about $800 million. Currently serves on the boards of Charter Healthcare Group, Complete Healthcare Partners, Employee Benefit Solutions and Verdi Oncology, among others.

Neil de Crescenzo — CEO, Change Healthcare: Oracle veteran took over at former Emdeon in 2013. Oversaw various M&A and efficiency-oriented moves before in January announcing a planned sale to UnitedHealth Group for about $8 billion.

Jim Deal — CEO, Compassus: Four-decade health care services veteran co-founded hospice venture and oversaw second recapitalization in 2019. Added home health partnership in 2020 and now has more than 200 locations and more than $600 million in revenue.

Nancy-Ann DeParle — Partner, Consonance Capital Partners: Manages about $2 billion portfolio in health care private equity. Formerly headed White House Office of Health Reform under the Obama administration. Serves as a director at CVS Health and HCA Healthcare.

David Dill — CEO, LifePoint Health: Picked in ‘18 to lead new iteration of LifePoint following union with RCCH HealthCare Partners. Former Renal Care Group exec joined company in 2007 and was previously president and COO.

Brandon Edwards — CEO, ReviveHealth: In 2009 founded marketing agency now part of Weber Shandwick after working at national firm and Tenet. Moved HQ to Nashville from California and has grown team to 70. Firm’s client list includes HCA, VUMC and Cleveland Clinic.

Dan Elrod — Attorney, Butler Snow: Veteran member of firm’s health care regulatory and transactions group. Certificate-of-need and licensing expert who works with hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and others.

Bill Frist — Partner, Cressey & Company: Former U.S. Senate majority leader who in 2015 founded population health nonprofit NashvilleHealth and helps lead Health Care Council’s Fellows program. Most recently launched long-term support services company with more than $40 million in funding.

Bobby Frist — Chairman and CEO, HealthStream: Co-founder of health care workforce development company has in past year ceded president title to Eddie Pearson and paid $18 million for skilled nursing quality software. Company grew by more than 100 employees in 2019, posting approximately $254 million in revenue.

John Graves — Associate Professor of Health Policy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center: Led Vanderbilt’s Department of Health Policy in modeling COVID-19 trends within Tennessee, providing invaluable insight on the novel coronavirus to local and statewide public health officials. Conducts interdisciplinary research on the intersection of health economics and policy.

Julie Gray — Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Meharry Medical College: Meharry grad turned professor of dentistry and interim administrator heads logistics for Meharry’s three community assessment centers in Nashville. HBCU was among first health organizations to jumpstart COVID testing, later to be adapted into citywide effort.  

David Guth — CEO, Centerstone: Co-founded nonprofit behavioral health provider and has steadily grown its footprint via acquisitions to more than 155,000 patients in six states and more than $320 million in revenue.

Brian Haile — CEO, Neighborhood Health: Former TennCare deputy COO and Jackson Hewitt exec who was recruited in 2017 to replace primary care organization’s longtime leader Mary Bufwack. Oversaw insurance exchange planning initiative for state prior to Jackson Hewitt stint.

Jay Hardcastle — Partner, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings: One of city’s top health care advisers who works with providers of all sorts on M&A, joint ventures, Medicare/Medicaid issues, whistleblower defenses and more.

Sam Hazen — CEO, HCA Healthcare: Took reins from Milton Johnson at city’s most prominent health care company after two years as president. Started with hospital giant in early 1980s before overseeing Western Group and being named COO in ’15.

James Hildreth — President and CEO, Meharry Medical College: Took over at one of nation’s oldest and largest historically black academic health science centers in 2015. Has been a regional and national leader in public health battle against COVID while laying out ambitious growth plans for Meharry.

Tim Hingtgen — CEO, Community Health Systems: Was promoted twice in 2016 into top operations role and at beginning of 2021 took over top job at slimmed-down company from longtime boss Wayne Smith. Joined CHS in 2008 as a VP of operations.

Craig Hodges — CEO, CarePayment: Former senior Emdeon executive relocated patient financing company’s home office here from Oregon in 2017 and since expanded provider partner base. Company runs more than 4 million accounts with no-interest payment plans.

Harry Jacobson — Co-founder and Partner, TriStar Health Partners: Former VUMC CEO has founded more than 10 companies and mentored countless others. Works with multiple investment firms, including Iroquois Capital.

Alex Jahangir — Chairman, Metro Board of Health: Vanderbilt trauma surgeon turned local household name as lead of city’s COVID-19 task force. Advised public policy and tracked local COVID-19 trends. Coordinated response effort among hospitals, testing sites, labs, among others. Board member at the Adventure Science Center.

David Jarrard — President and CEO, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock: Veteran communications strategist and adviser to health systems and entrepreneurs who leads 40-plus-member team that has worked with more than 400 clients in 40-plus states.

Michele Johnson — Executive Director and Co-Founder, Tennessee Justice Center: Runs nonprofit open since 1996 advocating for access to health care and other basic needs in Tennessee. Most recently has been leading the front against the TennCare block grant policy proposal.

David Katzman — CEO and Chairman, SmileDirectClub: Former venture capitalist who helped found tele-dentistry company disrupting the industry. Led the company through the launch of its $9 billion IPO this year and continues to combat waves of legal pressure from providers, consumers.

A.J. Kazimi — President and CEO, Cumberland Pharmaceuticals: Founded the company in 1999 and has since managed more than $100 million through equity and debt financing, as well as its IPO. Serves on the board for the Nashville Health Care Council and formerly was a director for Aegis.

Wendy Long — President and CEO, Tennessee Hospital Association: Former TennCare chief and Metro Public Health Department director who oversaw budgets of $10.5 billion and $46 million, respectively. Earned her current title in 2019 after a seven-month national search to replace 26-year THA veteran Craig Becker.

Charlie Martin — Chairman, Martin Ventures: Veteran hospital company builder and ex-Vanguard Health CEO in 2013 returned full-time to investment firm he founded to evangelize for technology — including blockchain — as a way to simplify and improve health care.

Phil Mazucca — CEO, Williamson Medical Center: Former CHS operations exec to take lead at prominent regional hospital. More than 38 years of experience in hospital operations, majority of which are in Middle Tennessee.

Russ Miller — CEO, Tennessee Medical Association: 32-year TMA veteran was promoted to chief executive role in 2013. Most recently the association has been pushing for policies surrounding the opioid epidemic and balance billing solutions.

Bruce Moore — President of Service Line and Operations Integration, HCA Healthcare: Joined hospital giant more than three decades ago and has since early this decade overseen oncology, urgent care and surgery centers businesses, among others.

Frank Morgan — Managing Director, RBC Capital: Former Jeffries analyst and J.C. Bradford partner has led health care services equity research at RBC since late 2008. Authority on hospital industry, senior living, behavioral and other operators.

Debbie Osteen — CEO, Acadia Healthcare: Former UHS exec recruited by Acadia directors as part of their shock ouster of Joey Jacobs. Joined Pennsylvania-based UHS in 1984 and had since 1999 led behavioral health group that now has $5 billion in revenue. Recently sold company’s struggling UK division, which had made up 35 percent of revenues.

Jeff Patton — President and CEO, OneOncology: Longtime leader of Tennessee Oncology who early this year took over from Tracy Bahl. Holding company for various cancer care ventures in 2018 launched with $200 million in backing and has since expanded network across the nation.

Jonathan Perlin — Chief Medical Officer, President of Clinical Services, HCA Healthcare: Joined hospital titan in ’06 after working as Veterans Health Administration CEO. Oversees clinical performance push that leans heavily on company’s massive data analytics group.

Clay Phillips — VP of Network Innovation, Blue-Cross BlueShield of Tennessee: Joined state’s largest insurer in 2006 to direct government relations and took on current role in 2013. Manages provider networks and leads work on ACOs and other alternative payment programs.

Lisa Piercey — Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health: Former health systems operations executive at West Tennessee Healthcare serving as state’s 14th Health Commissioner under Lee administration. Has co-led statewide COVID-19 response, including testing logistics, hospital surge, data delivery, contact tracing and public health policy.

C. Wright Pinson — Deputy Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and CEO, Vanderbilt Health System: Clinical and operational leader who plays point on partnerships with regional providers. In recent history, completed key acquisitions of Tennova and CHS facilities and aligned with UT-led University Health Network.

Patsy Powers — Co-Chair of Healthcare Department, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis: Picked with Brent Hill to take over from Ken Marlow as leader of team comprising about 200 attorneys that works with health systems, home health and long-term care providers.

Jim Rechtin — President and CEO, Envision Healthcare: Former OptumCare and DaVita Medical Group exec came to physician staffing company in February. Led adaptation of service offerings through pandemic, including helping hospitals flex clinician workforce during surges.

Clay Richards — CEO, naviHealth: Healthways veteran helped launch booming post-acute care manager in 2012; deal by NY PE firm valued venture at more than $1.3 billion. Recently promoted company COO to president and recruited exec to build out provider relationships.

Michelle Robertson — COO, Saint Thomas Health: Former pediatric nurse hired in 2017 from parent organization Ascension’s Texas arm to run day-to-day operations for nine-hospital system that employs more than 8,000 people.

Bill Rutherford — CFO, HCA Healthcare: 31-year HCA veteran has led the company through industry-defying financial performance. Steered finances of 150-facility network through pandemic turmoil, allowing the company to return $6 billion in COVID-19 federal aid. 

Jerry Shelton — President and CEO, Cryoport: Moved life science logistics company to Brentwood in February and began rapid global expansion. Currently leading company through COVID-19 vaccine trials and distribution efforts while enhancing core services in reproductive medicine, animal health products and biopharma.

Saurabh Sinha — CEO, emids Technologies: In 1999 co-founded health IT systems company now home to more than 2,500 people. Moved HQ to Cool Springs from airport area and continues to expand as pandemic fuels digital health revolution.

Jim Sohr — Chairman, Powered Health: Co-founder and former CEO of the former AIM Healthcare who launched Powered in 2013 to house health IT investments. Portfolio includes Perception Health, Xsolis and Relatient.

Fahad Tahir — President and CEO, Saint Thomas Midtown and West hospitals: Leads local Ascension network’s flagship facilities after reorganizing and growing network’s doctor group for three-plus years. Has proposed rehab facility partnership with Kindred Health and is overseeing long-term Midtown campus buildout that includes women’s health and cancer care centers.

Joseph Webb — CEO, Nashville General Hospital: Former Methodist LeBonheur exec and TSU alum still pushing to improve finances of Metro-owned hospital. Fought off ex-Mayor Barry’s proposal to end inpatient care and recently has looked to expanding hospital’s outpatient network to drive admissions and balance its budget.

Sam Weinstein — CEO, SpecialtyCare: Promoted to chief executive role after serving as president and CMO when acquired by Kohlberg & Co. in 2017. Has since been expanding its network across the country and employs more than 1,800 people total.

Phil Wenk — President and CEO, Delta Dental of Tennessee: Former dentist who joined insurer in 1997 and was picked to lead it in early 2000. Carrier works with more than 2,100 employer groups.

Steve Wilson — CEO, United Healthcare of Tennessee: Has been with giant insurer, which early this year said it was buying Change Healthcare, for more than a decade and leads unit that has more than $1 billion in sales by working with groups of up to 3,000 employees.