Thomas Health CEO to retire amid new partnership with WVU Medicine

Dan Lauffer will retire as president and CEO of Thomas Health as the South Charleston, W. Va.-based health system begins a new partnership with Morgantown, W. Va.-based WVU Medicine.

Thomas Health announced the partnership with WVU Medicine April 20, describing it as a management and clinical affiliation agreement.

The agreement "will enable us to add a variety of specialties and subspecialties at our hospitals, thereby expanding our ability to care for the people in our community. This also establishes a pathway where we could become full members of the WVU Health System, which would give us greater access to resources necessary to remain a healthy and viable organization for years to come," Thomas Health board chairwoman Angela Mayfield said in a news release.

Ms. Mayfield also said that small community hospitals like Thomas Health's Thomas Memorial and Saint Francis "need partnerships with larger systems in order to survive the current healthcare climate."

After announcing the WVU Medicine agreement, the St. Thomas board said Mr. Lauffer would retire. He became CEO of Thomas Health in 2015, after serving as the organization's COO.

"Serving as the health system's chief executive officer has been an incredible honor. The decision to create a partnership with WVU Health could not have come at a better time," Mr. Lauffer said in the news release from WVU Medicine. "I am at a point where I want to pursue other projects and enjoy more time at home with my family."

Albert L. Wright Jr., president and CEO of WVU Medicine, will helm Thomas Health on an interim basis, in addition to his top role at WVU Medicine.

"I'm excited to work with Dan, the board and the leadership of the Thomas Health System during this transition," Mr. Wright said in the news release. "Dan has done an outstanding job laying the groundwork to secure Thomas Health's long-term success."

News of the partnership comes after Thomas Health emerged from bankruptcy in 2020. Since then, Thomas Health has expanded services, and it reopened its emergency department at St. Francis in February, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Thomas Health is a 383-bed hospital system. WVU Medicine is a 16-hospital system.

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