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Health First names two seasoned executives to lead the Health First Medical Group

ROCKLEDGE, FL — Following its acquisition of Melbourne Internal Medicine Associates (MIMA), Health First has named James M. Ronaldson, MD, MBA, as the Interim President for the Health First Physicians Group, the existing physician unit at Health First. Effective December 17, Dr. Ronaldson will divide his executive duties, spending time with both Health First and MIMA during the transition period. The newly formed Health First Medical Group, which will combine the Health First Physicians Group and MIMA physicians, will begin official operation in mid-February 2013, following final approvals. At that time, Dr. Ronaldson will serve as the President of the Health First Medical Group, responsible for the strategic development, operational oversight, and financial growth of the newly formed group with over 300 physician providers and nearly 1,000 associates combined.

Most recently Dr. Ronaldson served as the CEO for MIMA, guiding the strategic direction for the multi-specialty independent physician practice. In addition, Dr. Ronaldson maintained his interventional cardiology practice, which he began in 1986. Dr. Ronaldson, who was elected to the MIMA Board of Directors in 1998, most recently served as the group's CEO since 2010. Prior to his role as CEO, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for twelve years. Under his leadership, Dr. Ronaldson helped to build the MIMA physician group to over 120 physicians, 30 physician extenders, and 700 support professionals. MIMA currently serves patients from 16 locations throughout south Brevard.

"Health First has enjoyed an established relationship with Dr. Ronaldson through his years as a member of the Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center's Medical Staff and in his role on the MIMA acquisition," said Steve Johnson, President/CEO of Health First. "We are honored to have such a seasoned physician leader join Health First as the senior executive for the Health First Medical Group. His proven leadership and the unanimous support of his appointment from both physician groups make him the ideal candidate to build this impressive physician entity for our integrated delivery system."

Dr. Ronaldson has served on the Medical Staff for Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center since 1989. From 1992 to 1999, he served on the Advisory Board of The Heart Center for the hospital. Prior to moving to Brevard, Dr. Ronaldson was an attending cardiologist for the Bay Pines VA Medical Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He also served as an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine for the University of South Florida.

Dr. Ronaldson conducted his internship in pediatrics and internal medicine at Staten Island Hospital on Staten Island, and served as Chief Resident at St. Vincent's Medical Center, also on Staten Island. Dr. Ronaldson then completed his fellowship in cardiology at the University of South Florida - Bay Pines VA Medical Center in Tampa. He then moved to Brevard to join the Medical Staff of Health First Holmes Regional. He resides in Melbourne Beach with his wife. The Ronaldsons have three children.

Chief Operating Officer named

Health First has also named Loretta Jo Powell as the new Chief Operating Officer for the Health First Medical Group. Ms. Powell will begin her duties January 14, 2013, reporting directly to Dr. Ronaldson. She comes to Health First from the University Medical Group (UMG) for the Greenville Hospital System in Greenville, SC, where she served as the Administrator of Management Service Organization since 2008.

In her role as Administrator for UMG, she led all aspects of practice management, physician compensation, market/business development, payer contracting/reimbursement, revenue cycle analysis, and customer service and management leadership for 700 multi-disciplinary providers in 135 locations. Ms. Powell joined the Greenville Hospital System in 1993 as the Medical Associates Department Manager.

In 2006, she was named the UMG Director of Operations, where she managed operations for surgery, medicine, orthopedic, OB/GYN, behavioral, neurosurgery, geriatrics, and pediatrics departments. Ms. Powell began her hospital system career in Denver and Indianapolis, working for West Pines Hospital and Arbor Psychiatric Hospital respectively in marketing and business development positions.

"We are fortunate to bring Ms. Powell to Brevard as our Chief Operating Officer," said Johnson. "She has extensive experience and expertise in leading a large physician group, with proven results in organizational consolidation, achievement of cost efficiencies, implementation of performance standards systems and managerial audits, compliance and safety initiatives, as well as oversight of physician revenue cycles."

Ms. Powell obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work at Anderson University in Anderson, IN. She received her Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University in Greenville, SC.

About Health First
Health First is Central Florida's only fully integrated health system. With a Mission to positively change the health and wellness of the communities we serve, Health First offers the latest technological advances and quality care at our four hospitals and through our many Outpatient & Wellness Services, as well as the area's only Trauma and Heart Centers. Health First also offers multiple commercial and Medicare health plans, the largest multi-specialty physician group in Brevard County, and four fitness centers to help members of our community stay healthy.

James Ronaldson