Drew Early, vice president of operations for Memorial Medical Center, will become the next president and CEO of Decatur Memorial Hospital, pending the successful completion of its affiliation with the Springfield-based Memorial Health System.
The nonprofit hospital’s board of directors approved Early’s appointment at its meeting on July 23. He is expected to begin his new role on Oct. 1.
Early has been with Memorial Health System and its flagship hospital, Memorial Medical Center, for 13 years. He has served as vice president of operations since December 2016, overseeing emergency and trauma services, environmental services, security, facilities design and construction, engineering, food and nutrition services and biomedical engineering.
Early earned his master of health services administration degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in April 2006. He received a bachelor of science degree in health care systems administration from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, in May 2004.
Early and his wife, Krista, live in central Illinois and will relocate to the Decatur area. They have three children.
Larry Altenbaumer, chair of the board of directors for Decatur Memorial Hospital, said board members, the medical staff and hospital leadership have had the opportunity to meet with Early over the last few weeks.
“We are excited about Drew’s selection as our new leader and look forward to introducing him to the community in the near future,” Altenbaumer said. “Drew represents the combination of leadership and experience that is critical to advancing our board’s commitment to positioning Decatur Memorial Hospital to continue to be a leader in providing a comprehensive scope of high-quality, community-based health care services.”
In May, Memorial Health System and Decatur Memorial Hospital announced they had reached an affiliation agreement, which would see the Decatur hospital become the eighth affiliate of the health system, pending regulatory approval.
Decatur Memorial Hospital has more than 2,300 employees. If the affiliation is approved, the hospital would become the second largest hospital in the health system. Full affiliation is expected to occur by Oct. 1.
“Over the years Drew has served at Memorial, he has done an outstanding job of leading and managing multiple service lines at the hospital and coordinating with the health system,” said Ed Curtis, president and CEO of Memorial Health System. “Drew’s solid health care management skills will help guarantee the successful integration of Decatur Memorial Hospital into our system.”
Early’s previous experience at Memorial Medical Center includes serving as administrator of cardiovascular and emergency services, director of business development and support, and administrative fellow for the health system. He began his career with Memorial in June 2006.
Early co-chairs the integration task force as Decatur Memorial Hospital transitions to an affiliate of Memorial Health System.
“I’ve had the privilege over the last few weeks to meet many of the people of Decatur Memorial Hospital,” Early said. “I’ve been impressed with the hard work everyone is doing to ensure their patients receive great care. I’m optimistic about what we’ll be able to accomplish together as we serve the health care needs of the people of Macon County and its nearby communities.”
Early will assume the role of Decatur Memorial Hospital president and CEO from Tim Stone, who is stepping down upon completion of the pending affiliation after 24 years of service. He joined the hospital in 1995 as chief operating officer and has served as president and CEO for the last four years.
“Drew’s engaging, collaborative and high-energy style will help our high-quality Decatur Memorial employees sustain and improve our performance, both from within the hospital and also through our affiliation with Memorial Health System,” Altenbaumer said.