Mercy Health has named Ken James as interim CEO of the system’s hospitals in Anderson Township and Clermont County’s Batavia Township.

James, 50, who has been president of Clermont Hospital since December 2016, replaces Jeff Graham, who is leaving the Cincinnati-based hospital system to become chief executive officer of Adena Health in Chillicothe.

“In his six months with Mercy Health, James, an experienced health care leader, has proven to be a great asset,” said Nanette Bentley, spokeswoman for the hospital system.

James joined Mercy Health with 18 years of management experience in health care. Most recently, he was CEO of Harton Hospital in Tullahoma, Tenn.

Anderson Hospital is the 12th-largest in Greater Cincinnati based on total expenses of nearly $183 million. Clermont Hospital is the 17th-largest based on more than $100 million in expenses.

Mercy has about 800 employees at Clermont Hospital, making it the fifth-largest employer in the county, according to Business Courier research. Anderson Hospital employs about 1,600.

Kathi Edrington is administrator of Anderson Hospital and chief nursing officer of both it and Clermont Hospital.

Mercy Health, which operates 21 hospitals in Ohio and two in Kentucky, claims to be the largest system in the Buckeye State based on 5.9 million patient interactions a year.

Graham joined Mercy in June 2012 as CEO of the hospitals in Anderson and Batavia Township as well as president of the system’s East Market, which includes the Mount Orab Medical Center in Brown County and various doctor offices.

“Mercy Health’s East Market has thrived under Jeff’s leadership, and we wish him well on his new endeavors as he returns home to Adena, where he served previously for 12 years,” Bentley said.

Graham is to begin working for Adena on July 31. The three-hospital system includes the flagship Adena Regional Medical Center in Ross County.

James was hired by Mercy Health to replace Gayle Heintzelman, who had been site administrator and chief nursing officer of Clermont Hospital since 2011. Her title at the hospital had been CEO from 2009 to 2011. She joined Clermont Hospital in 1979 as a part-time telephone operator.

James was market CEO of Missouri’s Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, which includes three campuses and eight rural health clinics, from 2013-16. He served as CEO as well as chief operating officer and associate administrator of Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center in Kennett, Mo., from 2011-13 He was director of imaging services for the Cleveland Clinic’s hospital in Weston, Fla., from 2004-06 and briefly supervisor of the Cath Lab at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville in the late 1990s. James began his career as a radiologic technologist at Kaiser Permanente’s Fresno Community Hospital in 1990 and was an instructor in the field at the University of Louisiana at Monroe from 1994-98. He has a bachelor’s degree in radiology from the University of Louisiana-Monroe and a master’s in industrial/organization management from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

James and his wife, Marilyn, have two sons.

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