HMA promotes Sparks, Summit Medical CEO

The search will soon begin for a new top hospital boss at Sparks Health System in Fort Smith and Summit Medical Center in Van Buren.

Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates announced Wednesday (Nov. 28) that Melody Trimble is being promoted to president of the company’s Southern and Western Group, which includes 26 hospitals in seven states. The promotion is effective Jan. 1, 2013. The seven-state region is Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington.

Sparks is owned by Naples, Fla.-based Health Management System, and Summit is operated by HMA through a lease agreement with Crawford County.

Trimble joined Sparks Hospital in the fall of 2009, after the hospital was purchased by HMA in a $138-million deal that closed Nov. 30, 2009.

Prior to arriving in Fort Smith, Trimble served as the CEO of Venice Regional Medical Center since 2005, when HMA bought the financially troubled 312-bed hospital in Venice, Fla. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Eastern Kentucky University, and earned a master’s in nursing at the University of Kentucky. Trimble earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Eastern Kentucky University and a master’s in nursing from the University of Kentucky.

Trimble joined HMA in 1991, rising through the ranks to vice president and market CEO of Health Management’s Sparks Health System and Summit Medical Center in Arkansas.

“Melody has been a successful leader throughout her career at Health Management, most recently by growing Sparks into the thriving health system it is today,” Gary Newsome, HMA president and CEO, said in a statement. “With her nursing background, she understands the vital role nurses play in working with physicians to provide high-quality care with a human touch to our patients, and now she can bring that perspective to a larger group of our hospitals.”

Trimble fills the post left open by Joe Pinion, who recently announced his retirement from the company effective at the end of the year. Pinion has agreed to be a consultant to Health Management for a transitional period.

Trimble announced the change to physicians and hospital staff Wednesday afternoon.

“This is one of the toughest decisions I have ever made. Professionally, I am thrilled for the opportunity to have oversight of 26 hospitals, including Sparks and Summit; however, personally, I will miss you, the finest group of physicians, nurses and health care professionals I have ever had the privilege to lead,” Trimble said in a statement. “This community has been so welcoming and wonderful to me. I am forever grateful. And I promise you, the forward momentum we have started here will not stop.”   
According to the Sparks statement, Trimble “plans to take her time, working with Sparks and Summit physicians and leaders, to find her replacement. After that, she will relocate to Naples, Florida.”


HMA operates 70 hospitals with approximately 10,500 licensed beds in non-urban communities located throughout the United States.

Shares of HMA (NYSE: HMA) closed Wednesday at $7.92, up 7 cents. During the past 52 weeks the share price has ranged from an $8.69 high to a $4.81 low.

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Melody Trimble

This is sad news for the River Valley. Melody Trimble brought a personality and a sense of associate ownership to Sparks that surprised and thrilled most of us. She truly turned the organization 180 degrees. On the other hand, this is terrific news for the Trimble family and for all of HMA. We all wish Melody the best in her continued successes.


FYI, apparently Health Management Associates is in for a grilling on "60 Minutes" this Sunday regarding doctor allegations of questionable patient admission practices and testing procedures.

60 minutes = Onion News Network

I don’t know anything about HMA, but if it’s on 60 Minutes, then you can bet it’s going to be silly half-truths and over-the-top sensationalism. I used to think there was something to that show. Now it’s just another uber-liberal ratings extravaganza.

Okie dokie

Well, glad that was so easily dismissed. Nothing to see here. Don't even need to see it to decide. Just attack the messenger and move on, folks. It was interesting to see a doctor from Summit-Van Buren on the show tonight, but no worries. No need for thought or reflection, just label them liberals and poof, all is well.


The doctor from Summit Hamby worked at Mercy also. Was let go at Mercy for the same reason he is claiming at Summit? Why did he leave St. Edward Mercy? You need to check his past work history before you start believing what he is saying.


Missing the big picture here. Don't get focused on Hamby. "60 Minutes" talked to more than 100 current and former employees and heard a similar story over and over.