Jim Nathan's Impact on Health Care Here at Home

More Than 40 Years as a Health Care Leader

Jim Nathan walked into Lee Memorial Hospital 42 years ago, expecting to complete a one-year administrative residency, after which he would return to his hometown of Cincinnati to begin his career in health administration. But in less than a year, Jim’s extraordinary leadership abilities were recognized and he was promoted to vice president of Institutional Services.

In late 1981, the Lee Memorial Board of Directors appointed him President and CEO, positions he would hold until 1997, and once again from 2000-2017. Except for three years of health and leadership consulting and working on national health reform in the late 1990s, Jim Nathan has belonged to Southwest Florida’s health care community for more than four decades.

Throughout the years, Jim has overseen remarkable growth at Lee Health through its development and expansion from a single hospital to an organization with four major acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a regional cancer center, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, home health services, multiple outpatient facilities and physician group practices.

“While Lee Health has achieved many impressive accomplishments over the past 40 years, none were achieved by me personally,” Jim says. “I have always seen my role as an enabler so that brilliant, talented, hardworking, caring people have the resources and culture to succeed.”

In the past few years, Lee Health has received national recognition, including Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals, HealthGrades Excellence, Employer of Choice, AARP Top 10 Best Employers for Workers 50 and Over, and Premier Healthcare Employer.

As an advocate in shaping health care at a national level, Jim has served as a national keynote speaker on many health care topics and testified before the U.S. Senate on competition and antitrust issues regarding health care delivery and financing.

Jim has agreed to serve “on call” during the next two years based on assignments selected by the Lee Memorial Health System Board of Directors and our new CEO, Larry Antonucci, M.D. “While I am not retiring or resigning, I have no intention of being an ‘advisor’ on issues as I believe Larry and his administrative team in partnership with the Board and Medical Staff leaders must be empowered to make the right short term and long term decisions. I am honored to have served Lee Health for decades and proud of the Lee Memorial Health System Board for making the right decision to support an orderly leadership transition.”

Jim says the best time to transition Lee Health leadership is now. “For the past year I have been focusing on vital system leadership needs, to make sure Lee Health is well positioned for a successful future,” he says. “We recently announced a succession plan for key leaders who are retiring this year while identifying or recruiting the leaders who are replacing them. I am proud of the impressive team we have assembled and feel that Lee Health is prepared for the challenges of a rapidly changing health care delivery system and the ‘future world’ of coordinated care and population health.”

Tags: Jim Nathan, President & CEO, Leadership, Lee Health