St. Thomas Names New COO


saint thomasNASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 03, 2016) — Saint Thomas Health, Ascension’s Tennessee ministry, has announced that Paul E. Cleckner will be joining the nine-hospital system as Chief Operating Officer. Cleckner, who comes to Saint Thomas Health from LifePoint Health, will begin his new role August 8, 2016.

“Paul brings a breadth of healthcare leadership to this role,” said Karen Springer, Saint Thomas Health President and CEO. “Paul will work with our Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Greg James, in a dyad relationship that was created to align our clinical services and medical staff relations with the strategy and operation of our system. This alignment of operations and clinical services is key in the establishment of our clinically integrated system of care.”

Prior to joining Saint Thomas Health, Cleckner was Vice President of Operations, Eastern Group for LifePoint, a Nashville-based health system that operates seventy hospitals across twenty-two states. In this role, he oversaw operations for seven hospitals in South Carolina, Central North Carolina and Georgia. Within this group were facilities operating under the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare. Cleckner joined LifePoint in 2012 as Vice President of Business Transformation and was responsible for restructuring the company’s clinical business informatics function and facilitating the design between LifePoint and Duke Medicine of LifePoint’s National Quality Program. The latter leveraged Lifepoint’s performance within CMS’ Health Engagement Network with Duke’s Quality and Patient Safety programs.

Cleckner has significant experience in the financial services industry, serving in executive roles for Standard and Poor’s, Deloitte and Touche, and Investment Scorecard where he served as President and COO. He began his healthcare career in 2006 when he was named Senior Vice President for Operational and Professional Services for Emdeon, the nation’s largest healthcare revenue cycle solutions provider. This was followed by executive positions at NorthHighland Consulting and Medical Reimbursements of America before he joined LifePoint.

Cleckner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trevecca Nazarene University and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee College of Law.


Saint Thomas Health is Middle Tennessee’s faith-based, not-for-profit health care system united as one healing community. Saint Thomas Health is focused on transforming the health care experience and helping people live healthier lives, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. The regional health system includes nine hospitals: Saint Thomas Hospital for Spinal Surgery, Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro, Saint Thomas Hickman Hospital in Centerville, Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital in Smithville, Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital in Sparta, Saint Thomas River Park Hospital in McMinnville and Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital in Woodbury. A comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities complement the hospital services and cover a 68-county area. Saint Thomas Health is the Tennessee ministry of Ascension, the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit


Ascension ( is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. In FY2015, Ascension provided nearly $2 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Approximately 160,000 associates and 36,000 aligned providers serve in 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to healthcare delivery, Ascension subsidiaries provide a variety of services and solutions including physician practice management, venture capital investing, investment management, biomedical engineering, clinical care management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.

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