Dan McKay Named Sparks, Summit CEO

by Lee Hogan  on Monday, Jun. 30, 2014 1:50 pm  

Dan McKay

In a position that has been a revolving door recently, Sparks Health System in Fort Smith and Summit Medical Center in Van Buren have named Dan McKay as its next chief executive officer.

When McKay assumes the position, effective in August, he will be the fourth person to hold the position this year.

McKay's hiring comes after the health care group decided not to appoint Tim Schmidt, who is alleged to have made a racially insensitive remark during a question-and-answer session with about 100-150 employees.

The City Wire reported Schmidt was asked why he wanted to leave Laredo, Texas, to move to Fort Smith. Schmidt said, "Have you ever been to Laredo, Texas? It's 97 percent Hispanic," according to The City Wire report

A spokeswoman for Sparks refused to comment for City Wire's story, but said Schmidt was removed from consideration for the permanent position after it was determined he was not the best candidate.

Following the board's decision to remove Schmidt from the running for the permanent position, Sparks' chief operating officer, Jeremy Drinkwitz, assumed the interim role.

Schmidt was named interim CEO in March following the resignation of Charles Stewart, who left the position after less than six months on the job. The company refused to comment on the reason for Stewart's departure.

The revolving door of CEOs began after Melody Trimble was promoted in January 2013 to president of Health Management Associates' Southern and Western Group. Trimble was repleced by Gary Blan in March 2013.

McKay comes to Spark and Summit following five years as CEO of Northwest Health System, which includes Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville and Springdale, and Willow Creek Women's Hospital in Johnson.

"It's an honor to join a system with a long history of being a leader in providing high quality healthcare to the Fort Smith area," McKay said in a news release.

Prior to his time with Northwest Health System, McKay was vice president at Community Health Systems Professional Services Corporation. Before that, he held leadership positions at hospitals in South Carolina, Missouri, Texas and Alabama.

In all, McKay has more than 20 years experience in hospital management.

"Dan has a track record of proven success and stability at Northwest," Hugh Maurras, chairman of Sparks Health System's Board of Trustees, said in the release. "He brings proven leadership skills and a familiarity with our region to the role of CEO."

McKay graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He obtained his master's in health care administration from Xavier University.



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