Elaine C. Thompson Shares Plans for Retirement; Lakeland Regional Health’s Next President/CEO Is Named

Lakeland, FL – Laura Hawley, Chairperson of the Lakeland Regional Health Board of Directors, announced today Lakeland Regional Health President/CEO Elaine C. Thompson’s decision to retire on December 31, 2020, at the end of her current contract.

In a letter to the Board of Directors on February 25, Dr. Thompson stated, “After careful consideration, I have come to the difficult decision that it is time for me to move forward onto the next phase of my journey to allow me to spend more time with my family and to explore new intellectual challenges.” In her letter, Dr. Thompson shared that, “Due to the selfless commitment, strong character and exceptional leadership of the Board of Directors and my incredible team, the opportunity to serve in the role of President and CEO of Lakeland Regional Health has provided to me the most professionally fulfilling and inspirational time of my life.

Dr. Thompson has served as President and CEO of not-for-profit Lakeland Regional Health since 2010, bringing world-class care to Lakeland and the surrounding communities. During Dr. Thompson’s tenure, her most profound achievements to date include:

  • Obtaining a favorable reconfirmation of fixed debt rating of A2 stable by Moody’s in 2018, despite operating in the 6th poorest suburban county in the nation.
  • Improving the average age of plant from 14.3 years to 11.2 years, resulting in over 80% of patients being cared for in private rooms compared to 55% in 2017.
  • Investing $350 million into key facility improvements including the Hollis Cancer Center expansion, creation of the Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine, Grasslands Ambulatory Campus and the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children.
  • Operating the busiest single-site Emergency Department in the United States and demonstrated top 10% throughput efficiency ranking in the country since 2013.
  • Strategically building and operating a multidisciplinary employed physician group of over 200 physicians and advanced care practitioners.
  • Establishing the Institute for Safety Discovery and Standard Work in 2015, providing a framework for quality improvements in areas such as fall prevention and infection rates.
  • Achieving numerous Best Place to Work Awards, including Gallup, Becker’s, Forbes and Florida Hospital Association

In February, the Board of Directors began the process of identifying and selecting Dr. Thompson’s replacement. Today, the Board announced that Danielle Drummond, MS, FACHE, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Lakeland Regional Health, was selected to assume the role of President and CEO of Lakeland Regional Health, upon Dr. Thompson’s retirement effective January 1, 2021.

“We are both thrilled to announce Danielle Drummond’s new role as President and CEO and saddened to wind down our time under the exceptional leadership of Elaine Thompson,” Ms. Hawley said.

Ms. Drummond, who joined Lakeland Regional Health in 2013, was selected in 2018 as one of the nation’s Top 25 COOs in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare for her responsibilities overseeing the Medical Center, Physician Group, Hollis Cancer Center, clinical joint ventures and affiliations, strategic planning and growth initiatives, and facility design and construction. During her tenure, Ms. Drummond led the ambitious design and construction process for the eight-story, state-of-the-art Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children. In addition, Ms. Drummond helped to facilitate the Clark & Daughtrey Medical Group transition, oversee expansion of the Hollis Cancer Center, and strategize for growth of the Physician Group and ambulatory practices. Ms. Drummond also facilitated significant clinical collaborations with Mayo Clinic and Nemours Children’s Health System for Lakeland Regional Health.

“I have gained so much from Dr. Thompson’s exemplary leadership skills, her heartfelt vision and her dedication to high-quality healthcare. I also am constantly amazed at the talent, commitment and passion displayed every day by our outstanding team members,” Ms. Drummond said. “I love this community, and I feel honored and grateful to be able to help the patients and families we are privileged to serve.”

“Both Ms. Drummond and Dr. Thompson are outstanding leaders to work with,” said Timothy J. Regan, MD, President, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center/Chief Medical Officer, Lakeland Regional Health. “Lakeland Regional Health has grown and advanced exponentially under their direction. I am excited to see what the next decade brings to our organization and community.”

About Lakeland Regional Health

Not-for-profit Lakeland Regional Health reaches beyond its hospital walls to promote wellness, education and discovery in new places and new ways, providing a wide range of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services at its Medical Center, Hollis Cancer Center and ambulatory care locations. Lakeland Regional Health earned Most Wired Advanced and Most Wired status four times since 2013 from the American Hospital Association and has earned workplace awards from Forbes, Gallup and Becker’s Hospital Review. Its 864-bed comprehensive tertiary referral hospital, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, operates the Jack and Tina Harrell Family Institute for Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine; a Level II Trauma Center; the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children, which includes a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; and the Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine.