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Covenant Health Announces Leadership Appointments

Posted on March 2, 2016

Covenant Health, the major health system headquartered in Knoxville and the region’s largest employer, has announced internal leadership appointments in conjunction with previously announced transitions of current president and CEO Anthony L. Spezia to CEO emeritus and Jim VanderSteeg, current executive vice president of operations, to president and CEO of the health system.

Mike Belbeck, president and chief administrative officer of Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, will succeed VanderSteeg as the health system’s executive vice president of operations. Jeremy Biggs, president and chief administrative officer of Cumberland Medical Center in Crossville, will succeed Belbeck as president and CAO of Methodist Medical Center. They will assume their new responsibilities April 1.

Belbeck has been president and CAO of Methodist Medical Center since 2007. During his tenure at Methodist, the hospital has completed facility renovations including the establishment and expansion of a Joint Center, and implemented medical innovations such as the da Vinci surgical robot.

The hospital has been nationally recognized for quality and has received “A” scores for patient safety from the Leapfrog Group every year since the safety recognition program’s inception. Methodist Medical Center has also been recognized as a top regional hospital by U.S. News and World Report.

“Mike Belbeck is known for developing strong, positive relationships with physicians and employees, and for his commitment to excellent patient care,” Jim VanderSteeg said. “In addition, he has led Methodist in developing several quality initiatives which have subsequently been implemented throughout Covenant Health. Mike is well prepared to assume the role of executive vice president of operations for the health system.”

“It has been an honor to serve as Methodist’s chief administrator for nearly a decade,” Belbeck said.  “I am grateful to have had the privilege of working with the medical staff and employees at Methodist to provide excellent health care to the citizens of our community.  In my new role, I look forward to continuing that work on a broader scale as I help lead Covenant Health in the fulfillment of its mission in each of the communities we serve.”

Biggs has served as president and CAO of Cumberland Medical Center since 2014.  After joining Covenant Health in 2011, Biggs was named president and CAO of Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System in Morristown and later served as interim CAO of Thompson Cancer Survival Center. 

During his tenure at Cumberland Medical Center he focused on a variety of initiatives including the expansion of cardiac services and other specialty services. The hospital is currently undergoing construction of a new emergency department and recently celebrated its 65th anniversary of service to the Cumberland Plateau.

“Jeremy Biggs has extensive operational knowledge of our hospitals and outpatient services, and has helped Cumberland Medical Center transition smoothly into Covenant Health,” VanderSteeg said. “His focus on quality medical services and strong community relationships will build on the legacy Mike Belbeck has established at Methodist.”

“I have been privileged to work alongside the staff and physicians at Cumberland Medical Center during the past several years,” Biggs said. “The hospital plays an important role in providing medical care to the Cumberland Plateau, and that role will continue to grow in the future. Methodist Medical Center also is known for excellence in the communities it serves, and I look forward to becoming a part of the Methodist family in the days ahead.”

“These two leaders have extensive experience in hospital operations and administration, and a firm commitment to Covenant Health’s mission, vision and values,” Spezia said. “They have demonstrated exceptional leadership at their respective hospitals, and I am confident of their continued success in their new roles.”

Regarding Biggs’ successor at Cumberland Medical Center, an announcement will be made at a later date. 

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