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Citizens Memorial’s longtime CEO to retire

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Last edited 9:19 a.m., May 24, 2019

The first and only CEO of Bolivar’s Citizens Memorial Hospital system announced his retirement, and his successor already is on board.

Donald Babb, 78, is scheduled to retire in January 2020, he announced today in a letter to medical staff members, employees and volunteers. He’s slated to be succeeded by Gary Fulbright, the health care system’s chief financial officer who was the third employee of CMH after it opened nearly 38 years ago, according to a news release.

Babb has more than 50 years of experience in health care, and he’s worked as CEO of CMH since 1981.

“I love what I do and have loved growing CMH into the remarkable health care organization that it is today,” Babb said in the release. “It’s been an honor and privilege to serve our community and to work alongside so many talented and caring health care providers, employees and volunteers.”

During Babb’s tenure, CMH has grown into a health care system with services in eight southwest Missouri counties. CMH’s Bolivar hospital has 86 beds, and the health care system also operates 34 clinics, five independent living communities and two retail pharmacies, as well as a residential care center and six long-term care facilities with a combined 705 licensed beds.

Its Bolivar-based hospital system and not-for-profit foundation together produce gross operating revenue of around $457 million, according to the company’s website.

Said to be one of the longest-serving health care executives in the state, Babb also has served as chairman for the Missouri Hospital Association and has received numerous accolades, including MHA’s Visionary Leadership Award, according to the release.

“Mr. Babb arrived in Bolivar with a vision of what health care should look like in rural America: a place where health care is available to its citizens without extensive travel,” said Dave Strader, CMH Foundation board president, in the release. “We have seen Don Babb’s vision come to life at Citizens Memorial. Along with a great professional staff under his leadership, the hospital and foundation have flourished. Mr. Babb’s vision will live far beyond his years here and is a legacy for the future.”

In October 2016, Babb led CMH to sign a letter of intent to be purchased by CoxHealth. However, the deal fell valued at $120 million fell through in mid-2017.

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