Patrick Sharp, CEO of Mercy Hospital since January 2021, is moving on to lead three Centura Health hospitals in Colorado Springs, starting Oct. 3.
In his new role, Sharp will oversee Penrose Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and St. Francis Hospital-Interquest, Centura Health announced Thursday. Centura has not announced his replacement at Mercy.
During his time at time at Mercy, Sharp contended with the COVID-19 pandemic and the staffing and administrative challenges that came with it.
Sharp also pursued “community partnerships” and “provider recruitment,” created the Surgical Services Executive Committee to administer operations and finance, and expanded medical services with an ambulatory surgery center scheduled for construction this fall, a Centura news release said.
“I look forward to building the future of health care in such a diverse and dynamic community – a community that has experienced the high quality, compassionate care Centura has provided since the 1880s,” Sharp said in the news release. “I have witnessed the compassion, kindness and commitment to public good through the caregivers at Mercy Hospital and I know those same qualities are what make Penrose and St. Francis such a comforting place to our friends and neighbors.”
Sharp worked at a rural medical center, Fairview Range, in Hibbing, Minnesota, for about 13 years as president and CEO before he joined Mercy Hospital, he told The Durango Herald in July 2021.
He said his first priority at Mercy was to conduct staff member and stakeholder meetings to build relationships and collect feedback about work at the hospital.
In 2021, Mercy Hospital was under fire by critics who said it was not being transparent enough about its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sharp said then that the solution to concerns about transparency was having meaningful dialogue about whatever the issue is.
During various stages of the pandemic, Mercy was slow to share information about conditions inside the hospital, such as whether hospital beds were filled and whether there were enough ventilators. Mercy was quiet during periods of increased COVID-19 infections among health care workers, increased workloads and staff member burnout across the state.
In November 2021, Sharp was exposed to COVID-19. Lindsay Radford, spokeswoman for Centura Health, told the Herald she was uncertain about when the CEO had been exposed to the virus or if he was still in quarantine.
In September 2021, a group of retired medical professionals criticized Mercy Hospital’s parent company Centura Health for frequent staff turnover, noting it had been an issue since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group published a petition to improve health care in the Herald’s Opinion section after collecting 12 signatures, including community leaders former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, state Rep. Barbara McLachlan and City Councilor Melissa Youssef, in addition to 17 “concerned physicians.”
“The perception is we’re not able to take care of people locally, and that’s just not true,” Sharp said then. “Our physicians and our nurses continue to do an outstanding job despite being in a pandemic.”
He said as of September 2021, the hospital’s care had been rated highly by external evaluations and that year Mercy Hospital was among only 13.6% of hospitals to receive Healthgrades CMS 5-star rating for the sixth consecutive year.