Covenant Health Names New Chief Administrator at LeConte Medical Center

Aaron Burns
Aaron Burns, President and Chief Administrative Officer, LeConte Medical Center

Covenant Health is pleased to announce that Aaron Burns has been promoted to president and chief administrative officer of LeConte Medical Center. He currently serves as vice president of support services, a role he has had since July 2020. He will succeed current CAO Gaye Jolly, who is retiring at the end of March 2022. In his new role Burns will manage the overall operations of LeConte Medical Center and work with the leadership team of Covenant Health on system-wide initiatives.

During his two years as vice president of support services, Burns has assisted LeConte Medical Center in COVID-19 efforts, ensuring the safety of patients of the hospital and the affiliated LeConte Health and Rehabilitation Center. He has had direct leadership responsibilities for departments such as plant engineering, safety, security, pharmacy, radiology, among others. Burns has been the hospital’s patient safety officer and compliance liaison, has served on numerous committees, and has overseen facility construction, equipment upgrades and remodeling projects.

“It’s an honor to be named the next chief administrative officer of LeConte Medical Center. The medical center plays an incredibly important role in the Sevier community, and provides services and expertise that are unique among hospitals of similar size,” Burns said. “After nearly two years here, I feel very much like part of the LeConte Medical Center family. Working with Gaye Jolly has been a privilege, and I’m committed to continuing her legacy of excellent leadership.”

“Aaron Burns has been an asset to LeConte since joining Covenant Health and is already well respected by employees and physicians at the medical center. He also has worked successfully with other Covenant Health leaders and employees on a variety of initiatives,” said Jim VanderSteeg, Covenant Health president and CEO. “Under Aaron’s leadership, LeConte Medical Center will continue to flourish and grow in service to the Sevier County area.”

“Aaron Burns has played a key role in LeConte’s operations during the challenges of the COVID pandemic,” said Mike Belbeck, executive vice president of operations for Covenant Health. “His leadership experience and broad understanding of hospital operations, along with his commitment to putting patients first, will position him for continued success at LeConte Medical Center.”

Burns came to Covenant Health from Merit Health in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he served as the assistant chief executive officer. In that role, he oversaw nearly 20 departments, served on various committees, worked on plans for the hospital’s growth and expansion, and led tele-health initiatives.

Prior to Merit Health, he served as director of operations for Mercy Health Physicians at Mercy-Lourdes in Paducah, Kentucky. In that role, he oversaw eight specialty practices and led 50 medical providers, along with developing growth initiatives for specialized areas such as surgery, mammography and urgent care, among others.

Burns received his MBA in healthcare administration from Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, and his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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