Mercy Fort Smith President Ryan Gehrig has taken an expanded role in which he'll also oversee Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers.
Gehrig has been president of the Fort Smith hospital for 10 years. In his new role leading both hospitals, he'll hold the title of president of Mercy Hospitals Arkansas.
Mercy Northwest's current president, Eric Pianalto, will assume a new role as chief strategic growth officer. Pianalto has been president of the hospital since 2013. Under his leadership, the hospital completed a $247 million expansion that included a seven-story, 100-patient tower, and it also included seven clinics in the surrounding communities.
Dr. John Mohart, who leads operations for all of Missouri-based Mercy's hospitals, said the health provider is taking a "one-Mercy approach" in northwest Arkansas.
“Ryan is uniquely suited to unify our efforts in Arkansas and provide a seamless approach to care and service that best meets the needs of people in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley," Mohart said in a news release.
During Gehrig's time at Mercy Fort Smith, he has taken a lead role in efforts to introduce new and expanded services, including a $162 million emergency room and intensive care buildout set to open in 2024, according to the release. He was involved in expanding neurological services and the development of a rehabilitation hospital and Ronald McDonald House that opened in 2021.
“The local landscape of health care continues to evolve,” Gehrig said. “This shift in our leadership structure gives Eric and I and our team a unique opportunity to put an even greater focus on how to best serve the growing health care needs of our communities in Arkansas.”
Before joining Mercy, Gehrig was vice president of enterprise systems and chief administrative officer for Moore Medical Center in Norman, Oklahoma. He previously served as chief operating officer of Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and as CEO and chief operating officer of Bristow Medical Center in Bristow, Oklahoma.
Gehrig graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in biomedical science. He received a master’s in health care administration from Trinity University in San Antonio. Gehrig completed an administrative residency at Hillcrest Healthcare System in Tulsa.