Willis-Knighton Health System today announced that James K. Elrod, President and CEO, plans to retire effective September 30, 2021. The Board of Directors unanimously elected Jerry A. Fielder II (Jaf) to succeed Mr. Elrod as chairman. and CEO. With a tenure of over 30 years, Mr. Fielder is currently a senior member of the Willis-Knighton management team.
âOn behalf of the Board of Directors, medical staff, management team and the more than 7,000 employees of Willis-Knighton, we would like to thank Mr. Elrod for his unprecedented contributions and indelible impact during his more than five decades at the helm of this organization. “said Chairman of the Board Frank Hughes, MD,” Under his leadership, Mr. Elrod transformed Willis-Knighton from a small community hospital to one of Louisiana’s largest healthcare systems. We are fortunate that he is President Emeritus and remains a member of the Board of Directors to ensure a smooth changing of the guard. “
With an unwavering vision for the future, Mr. Elrod led the expansion of the original 60-bed hospital into a fully integrated care network consisting of four acute care hospitals and a rehabilitation institute, d ‘an extensive network of multispecialty physicians and the state’s largest retiree community. , The Oaks of Louisiana. Mr. Elrod created the characteristic that sets Willis-Knighton most apart, which is a commitment to innovation.
Some of the many âfirstsâ at Willis-Knighton during Mr. Elrod’s tenure include organ transplants, minimally invasive heart surgery, innovative eye surgery technology and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Willis-Knighton was also the first in the state to offer proton therapy for the treatment of cancer. Mr. Elrod has been recognized by many organizations for his continued commitment and dedication to the community, which has led a regional newspaper to name him one of the most influential people in northern Louisiana in the past century.
Mr. Elrod graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration. After completing his military service in the United States Air Force, he attended Washington University School of Medicine where he obtained a master’s degree in hospital administration. Beginning his distinguished career with Willis-Knighton at the age of 27, he is the longest-serving hospital administrator in the United States with 56 years of service.
âWorking with Jaf over the last 30 years of his career here, I have not only seen him grow and demonstrate his abilities, I have seen his heart. His dedication to the healthcare system, medical staff, employees and our community is unquestionable and, I believe, unwavering. They will have the support of a strong management team, just like I have had, and they have a solid foundation to build on, âsaid Jim Elrod. âI turn to this wisdom from John F. Kennedy who noted, ‘Change is the law of life. And those who only look to the past or the present will certainly miss the future.