FAIRMONT, W.Va. – J. Thomas Jones, who as leader of the West Virginia United Health System (WVUHS) engineered its growth into the largest healthcare organization in the state, told the group’s board on Jan. 25 that he intends to retire at the end of 2013 after a 41-year career in healthcare.

“This has been my dream job,” he said. “My first job was in the food service department at the original University Hospital in Morgantown. After graduate school, I returned to work as an administrative resident. I’m now bringing it to a close as a part of the team that provides healthcare to more people in West Virginia than anyone else. You can’t beat that. I have been privileged to work with an outstanding group of staff and board members.”

“Tom Jones has done an excellent job helping West Virginia University fulfill its mission in healthcare for our state,” said WVU President Jim Clements, who chairs the WVUHS board. “He has been a champion for how our teaching, research and service missions help to advance healthcare within our state and the region. Tom has helped WVUHS grow into the largest healthcare system in the state by promoting quality and by being a strong advocate for the patients that our hospitals and clinics serve.”

He is only the second person to hold the CEO post since WVUHS’s founding in 1996. When he came to the group in 2002, it included only two hospitals, WVU’s Ruby Memorial in Morgantown and the original United Hospital Center in Clarksburg. Since then, it has expanded to include City Hospital in Martinsburg, Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson (operated together as WVU Hospitals-East) and Camden Clark Medical Center on two hospital campuses in Parkersburg. The System also includes United Physicians Care and the Health Partners Network.

“Academic healthcare systems are the key driver of health innovation in this country, and Tom Jones is recognized as an administrator who understands how to make them grow and keep them healthy,” said Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., WVU chancellor for health sciences. “Every one of our patients, our students, and our faculty has benefitted from his leadership in West Virginia and his advocacy on the national level.

“It’s been a privilege for me to work with Tom.  He mentored me in my transition to West Virginia University, and is wonderful friend.”

During Jones’ tenure at WVUHS, United Hospital Center planned and completed a new $300 million hospital along Interstate 79 in Bridgeport, and Ruby Memorial Hospital was substantially enlarged. For several years, WVUHS has been listed as West Virginia’s second-largest private employer.

Jones, who is a native of Glen Dale in the state’s Northern Panhandle, holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from WVU and a master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota.

He began his healthcare career in 1973 as an assistant administrator at Wheeling Hospital, rising to the post of chief operating officer. In 1990 he became CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington; in 2000 he was named to lead Genesis Hospital System, which included St. Mary’s, Cabell Huntington, and Pleasant Valley hospitals.  

Jones is active in the state’s business community, and was honored in 2012 by the WVU College of Business and Economics as one of three inductees into the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame. He is the chair of the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the boards of Arch Coal, Inc., and Premier, Inc. He has served on the boards of the American Hospital Association, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, and many other local, state, and national groups.
For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
bc: 01-25-13