Martha Jefferson Hospital President Retiring after 21 Years - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Hospital President Retiring after 21 Years

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Right: Jim Haden Right: Jim Haden

Martha Jefferson Hospital is searching for its first new president in more than two decades.

The hospital's president plans to retire this fall after 21 years that saw Martha Jefferson move out of a century-old facility and into a merger.

As president, Jim Haden led Martha Jefferson into a merger with Sentara. He guided the hospital from downtown Charlottesville into a new $275 million hospital three years ago this week. That milestone is giving the hospital's president a good point to announce he's retiring.

Haden is making his final rounds through the hospital's halls.

“I haven't really put on my going away, retiring hat just yet. I don't want to limp to the finish line. I want to finish strong,” he said.

Haden arrived in 1993 to the hospital's downtown Charlottesville location, which was its home for nearly a century. Martha Jefferson had 142 doctors caring for patients then. Now, it has more than 400 physicians.

“We were growing in programs, clinical capability. It's really just housing all those special things that we can do at Martha Jefferson that we couldn't do 21 years ago,” Haden said.

Haden says the time is right to retire as the hospital's board begins implementing its new strategic plan over the next three to five years. His decision didn't come as a surprise to the board; a search for his replacement started nearly a year ago.

“We're looking for a CEO who can take us into the next 20 years, which offer their own set of challenges different from what existed when Jim joined,” said Peter Brooks, chairman of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Board of Directors.

Until someone else's name is on the president's office, Haden will continue walking the hospital's halls and thanking the employees he credits for improving Martha Jefferson.

“It'll be just fun sitting down with them - saying hello, saying goodbye. Change is difficult, but change is good,” Haden said.

A search committee has already narrowed down the applicants to a small group. Those candidates will come to Charlottesville for interviews in September.

Martha Jefferson hopes to have a new president in place by the start of the new year.

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