CHIPLEY — The Board of Directors of Northwest Florida Healthcare, Inc. has named Mark E. Bush Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Florida Community Hospital in Chipley, effective Dec. 16.


CHIPLEY — The Board of Directors of Northwest Florida Healthcare, Inc. has named Mark E. Bush Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Florida Community Hospital in Chipley, effective Dec. 16.



Bush will replace CEO Patrick Schlenker, under whose leadership the hospital earned national and state recognition for impressive service and financial improvements achieved over nearly a decade.



Bush brings to his new role more than 20 years of experience in hospital finance and management, including 14 years’ operating a Critical Access Hospital and two nursing homes.



“I very much look forward to working with the outstanding NFCH community of physicians, staff and local residents who are so committed to serving this area,” Bush said.



Bush said he envisions strong collaboration with NFCH and area healthcare providers such as Gulf Coast Medical Center and Signature HealthCARE Systems facilities to continue to enhance local residents’ access to healthcare services.



A south Florida resident, he said he also anticipates getting involved in Washington County life. “My wife, Cathy, and I are excited to join in local events and groups to become part of our new community,” he says.           



Following a national search and rigorous evaluation process, Bush quickly emerged as the clear frontrunner to succeed Schlenker, known for his staunch commitment to the region.



“Pat’s visionary leadership secured the future of NFCH and he richly deserves this next chapter of his life. Mark Bush has the ideal skill set to continue Pat’s legacy, especially during challenging times for health care. He is a veteran senior leader with extensive experience in hospitals that serve rural populations. He understands how to ensure excellent patient care and to keep NFCH financially strong so that it can continue to serve and thrive,” said E. Joseph Steier, III, Chairman of the Board of NFHI and President and CEO of Signature HealthCARE Systems, NFHI’s majority stockholder. 



Bush’s hospital experience includes three years as president and CEO at the 140-bed MidMichigan Medical Center in Gratiot, Mich.; 14 years as executive vice president over MidMichigan Medical Center in Gladwin, Mich., a 25-bed critical access hospital, and two long-term care facilities. He also served as Chief Financial Officer for the Gladwin facilities for 18 years.



Bush is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He holds a master of business administration degree from DePaul University, Chicago and is in the process of completing his Doctorate in Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University.