After conducting a significant search, the Hospital Authority of Valdosta & Lowndes County, GA announced today that C. Ross Berry has been selected a finalist to lead South Georgia Medical Center, its campuses and affiliates, as the new chief executive officer. Berry is expected to be approved at the May 23rd meeting of the Hospital Authority.Berry is a talented health executive with a rare combination of experience in rural and urban hospitals. He has worked extensively with hospital administration, physician group-practice integration and value-based medicine in population health. He comes to SGMC from Jacksonville, FL where he worked as a healthcare consultant with Stroudwater Associates. He began his career with Hospital Corporation of America in Atlanta and worked at the Emory Clinic, Promina Health, Regional Care Hospital Partners/Muscle Shoals Hospital and with the STARUS Medical Group. He also served as the CEO of two cardiovascular practices in Atlanta and led both to attain industry recognition for outstanding operational and financial performance. As CEO of Muscle Shoals Hospital, the facility was recognized as the top performing hospital achieving the JD Power & Associates Award for Distinguished Hospital Inpatient Service of Excellence.According to Hospital Authority Chairman Sam Allen, SGMC had over 50 qualified candidates to apply for the CEO’s position. Six were actually interviewed by the CEO search committee and others. With a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA and 20 years of healthcare experience, Berry was selected as the finalist. “This is one of the most important decisions the Authority will make this year,” Allen said. “We took our time and conducted a thorough search. The Authority and I are eager to introduce Mr. Berry to leaders within our community and give them an opportunity to talk with him.”Berry said in an interview with the Valdosta Daily Times that he is eager to learn about SGMC and get to know the community. He also plans to work closely with health system staff and engage actively with local businesses and organizations.Allen also recognized interim CEO Heath Evans for doing an outstanding job over the past several months. “Heath stepped up and provided the continuum of leadership the organization needed,” Allen said. “His organizational and operational insight makes him a valuable member of the leadership team. The Hospital Authority and I appreciate his hard work dealing with all the additional responsibilities.”Berry is expected to begin working at SGMC in June. Events will be planned to introduce Berry to the community.