Gary Newsome, who has been CEO of a Naples-based hospital chain for five years, is retiring to become a Mormon missionary in South America, the Naples News reports, citing a release from the corporation's board of directors.
Newsome will be president of the Uruguay-Montevideo Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 35 years after serving as a missionary in that country.
Health Management Associates (HMA), which operates 71 hospitals in 15 states, has had a rough ride in the past year after spectacular growth under Newsome. It is under investigation by federal health officials and the SEC over its financial arrangements with physicians and its admissions policies.
But the investigations and bad press have nothing to do with Newsome's decision, said HMA Vice President Alan Levine: "This is the real deal. Gary is an active leader in the church. Being asked to do this was a huge honor for him and his wife. It's his calling."