Leadership Changes at Ascension Saint Thomas as Health System Looks to Future

Feb 13, 2023 at 09:54 am by WGNS News

(L-R) Robyn Morrissey and Ruth Portacci

Ascension Saint Thomas today announced changes in senior leadership as Robyn Morrissey is named Chief Strategy Officer and Ruth Portacci becomes Vice President of Joint Ventures and Chief Integration Officer. The new structure is focused on advancing the system’s work with physicians, alliances, and joint venture partners. 

Morrissey replaces Fahad Tahir, who was named president and CEO of Ascension Saint Thomas in January 2023. She has held several key roles since joining the health system in 2014, most recently helping grow Ascension’s national portfolio of ambulatory surgery centers as Chief Strategy Officer of Ambulatory Surgical Services. In her prior position as Vice President of Neurosciences, Orthopedics, and Spine for Ascension Saint Thomas, Morrissey led the development of the Ascension Saint Thomas Spine Institute through strategic redesign of clinical programs and the patient experience. She also led the growth and development of the Ascension Saint Thomas Joint Replacement Institute and set the groundwork for Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West to receive Joint Commission certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Morrissey was recognized by the Nashville Business Journal as a Healthcare Hero in 2019. 


A Focus on Rutherford County - As Vice President of Joint Ventures and Chief Integration Officer, Portacci will manage the health system’s joint venture relationships across Middle Tennessee with special focus on their growth and optimization. Partnerships are an increasingly significant sector of the Ascension Saint Thomas portfolio, which encompasses more than 175 joint venture sites of care. In her prior role as Vice President of Strategy since 2018, Portacci led strategic planning for the organization and secured key Certificate of Need approvals to build several important new sites of care, including: two ambulatory surgery centers in Rutherford County, Ascension Saint Thomas Rehabilitation Hospital in Nashville, and Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Westlawn, set to become Tennessee’s first micro-hospital when it opens this spring in Murfreesboro. Portacci was also integral to the development and upcoming launch of Rutherford County’s first cardiac surgery program. In 2022, she received the American Hospital Association’s Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development lifetime achievement award.

“Ascension Saint Thomas is committed to energizing partnerships with physicians and alliances, building clinical service lines, and optimizing the ecosystem of joint ventures to proactively meet the healthcare needs of Middle Tennesseans,” said Fahad Tahir, president and CEO, Ascension Saint Thomas. “It is a privilege to work alongside Robyn and Ruth, seasoned leaders who will shape the future of our system of care in concert with our partners.” 

About Ascension Saint Thomas - Ascension Saint Thomas operates 12 hospitals in Tennessee and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities that cover a 45-county area and provided more than $180 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2022. Across the state, Ascension Saint Thomas and its affiliates employ more than 10,700 associates. The health system has a 125-year history in Tennessee. Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable, through its more than 2,600 sites of care in 19 states and the District of Columbia.


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