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Hospital names chief operating officer

John Couris will be responsible for daily operations at Morton Plant North Bay starting next month.

Published August 26, 2006

NEW PORT RICHEY - After a five-month national search to replace former chief operating officer Bill Jennings, John D. Couris will take the helm next month at Morton Plant North Bay Hospital.

In March, Jennings accepted a job as chief operating officer and executive vice president of the 582-bed St. Mary's Health Center in St. Louis. He had been chief operating officer of 122-bed North Bay since Morton Plant Mease Health Care bought it in 1999.

Kathy Wicker, North Bay's director of nursing, was named interim administrator after Jennings left.

Couris, 39, has been North Bay's vice president of health services and ambulatory care since 2000.

Couris was selected from a pool of about 10 candidates, both internal and external.

As chief operating officer, Couris will be responsible for outpatient services and daily hospital operations.

Couris, a marathon runner and married father of two, takes over while the hospital is in the midst of an expansion at its 6600 Madison St. location.

"My vision and strategy is to be competitive in outcome and cost," Couris said. "I am excited about providing an entire continuum of care to the community of southwest Pasco."

North Bay officials were frustrated after the state refused to allow it to move its beds to the Trinity area, granting the relocation to Community Hospital instead, but Couris said the issue doesn't bother him.

"You've got to adapt," he said. "It is what it is. We have an enormous future for North Bay in the current area we are in. We also have a big outpatient presence in Trinity."

Couris said he's excited to begin working in his new position.

"When the community thinks of North Bay, I want them to think high-touch, high-tech and wellness," he said. "We have to have outstanding outcomes and always be focused."

[Last modified August 26, 2006, 06:21:42]

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