With more than 50 years in the Missouri health care industry, Donald Babb has led Citizens Memorial Hospital since 1981 as its sole CEO. Now, retirement is on the way.
“I’ve dedicated my career and life to improving the availability of quality health care in rural areas,” he says. “I have been personally committed to expanding health care services in southwest Missouri, specifically focusing on a rural eight-county region surrounding Bolivar.”
Babb has grown CMH into a health care system with 34 primary care and special care physician clinics and a senior health center, as well as over $500 million in annual revenue with more than 2,000 employees. Additionally, CMH provides rehabilitation and ambulance services, and the CMH Foundation includes six long-term care facilities, a residential care community and five independent living communities. CMH also annually screens more than 12,000 children in rural, public and private schools.
“Patients in our rural communities do not have to travel hundreds of miles. We provide care to patients close to their homes,” Babb says.
He plans to exit in January 2020, when he’s scheduled to be succeeded by CMH Chief Financial Officer Gary Fulbright.
“It was a difficult decision because I absolutely love what I do and have loved working and growing CMH into the remarkable health care organization that it is today,” Babb says. “I’ve delayed retirement because I love helping our patients and residents receive the exceptional care they all deserve.”
Babb was brought on after the Bolivar community approved and formed a public hospital district. The vision for CMH, he says, began in the 1970s.
“I fell in love with the community and its residents,” says Babb, who helped officially open the hospital on Sept. 28, 1982.
In addition to his CEO position for CMH, Babb also serves as executive director for the Citizens Memorial Health Care Foundation, Riverside Management and Rehabilitation, and CMH Properties.
Babb’s work has been recognized myriad times, as his accolade list includes an honorary doctorate from Southwest Baptist University, the Sam Walton Business Leader Award, the Missourian Award, the Governor’s Quality Leadership Award and the Missouri Hospital Association Visionary Leadership Award.
Additionally, Babb has served on numerous boards of directors, including those for the Bank of Bolivar, the Southern Missouri Bank of Marshfield and Bolivar Technical College. “I enjoy working with people and helping them to achieve their goals in improving area communities and supporting residents through education, programs, partnerships and charities,” Babb says.
Babb started out in health care in 1963, as a medical laboratory director in Farmington. He then went on to serve as assistant administrator for West Plains Hospital, administrator for Texas County Memorial Hospital and executive director for South Central Ozarks Association of Health Care Administrators.
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