Mercy Changes Leadership Structure, Appoints Gehrig President of Arkansas Hospitals

Ryan Gehrig will lead Mercy Hospitals in Rogers, Fort Smith and statewide in a newly expanded role.

Gehrig will become president of Mercy Hospitals Arkansas after 10 years as president of Mercy Fort Smith, the organization announced in a press release Wednesday.

The change in leadership structure will help ensure that the region’s two Mercy hospitals move forward with the same goals, according to Dr. John Mohart, who leads operations for all Mercy hospitals in multiple states as chairman of Mercy Communities.

“Mercy has deep roots in both communities, and as Arkansas continues to grow at a rapid pace, it’s important that our teams take a unique approach so that we can continue to provide the highest quality, compassionate care. and faith-based to the people we serve,” Mohart said.

As president at Fort Smith, Gehrig led efforts to expand the hospital’s emergency room, intensive care, and neurological services in addition to overseeing the opening of a rehabilitation hospital and Ronald Mansion. Mcdonalds.

He has also held leadership positions at Moore Medical Center in Norman, Okla.; Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg, Miss.; Bristow Medical Center in Bristow, Okla.; and Cushing Regional Hospital in Cushing, Okla., according to the release.

Gehrig holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University in San Antonio and an undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences from Texas A&M University.

Eric Pianalto, current president of Rogers Hospital, will serve as director of strategic growth for Mercy Arkansas.

“The local healthcare landscape continues to evolve,” Gehrig said. “This change in our leadership structure gives Eric, I and our team a unique opportunity to focus even more on how best to meet the growing health care needs of our Arkansas communities.”

Pianalto will work closely with Mercy Clinic teams to expand hospital services, clinic locations and medical staff to meet growing demand in the state, according to the press release.

Pianalto was COO of Mercy Clinic in Arkansas and Oklahoma before becoming president.

Raymond Burns, president and CEO of the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce, said Mercy is one of the region’s leading healthcare facilities and plays a vital role in supporting the quality of life of the area and the employment of area residents, he said.

Burns said he was sure any changes to the hospital’s leadership were thought through. He looks forward to working with Gehrig and continuing to work with Pianalto as the two transition into new roles, he said.

“It looks like a win-win from our perspective,” he said.

Pianalto’s knowledge and relationships in the region will continue to benefit the hospital as well as ongoing partnerships in the region, said Ryan Cork, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Council’s healthcare division.

Cork said the board has been working with the team at Mercy Fort Smith and Pianalto throughout the covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s a very positive decision,” he said.

Mercy is a St. Louis-based nonprofit multistate healthcare system with hospitals in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Ida M. Morgan