New Erlanger trustee brings decades of hospital industry expertise to the volunteer role

Jim Coleman / Contributed photo

Jim Coleman, a hospital industry leader with more than 25 years of experience, has been appointed by local legislators to replace outgoing trustee Phil Smartt on the Erlanger Health System Board of Trustees.

Coleman is the chief operating officer of Alliant Management Services, a health care company based in Louisville, Kentucky, focusing on rural hospital management and solutions. Alliant's network includes hospitals in Kentucky, Alabama, Florida and Illinois.

Coleman lives in Hamilton County and spent much of his career working in Chattanooga's hospital industry and surrounding markets. He was the chief operating officer at Parkridge Health System from 2006-2019. Before that, Coleman served as CEO of the former SkyRidge Medical Center in Bradley County, as COO at the former Hutcheson Medical Center in North Georgia, and worked in management roles at Erlanger from 1993-2000.

photo Jim Coleman / Contributed photo

State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, said the delegation chose Coleman because of his expertise and "deep understanding" of hospital management, operations and finances.

"We felt like that was a voice we really needed on that board," Gardenhire said.

Coleman will join the 11-member board of trustees at the board's regular monthly meeting - which is public and begins at Erlanger at 5:15 p.m. - on Thursday, Nov. 21.

In an emailed response, Coleman said Erlanger "holds a special place" in his life and career.

(Read more: 'We're going to use this to become streamlined,' Erlanger CEO Will Jackson says in board address after layoffs)

"My first job was at Erlanger," Coleman said, adding that in that role he worked as a respiratory therapist covering trauma. "Erlanger has employed tens of thousands over the past years in our community. It is a vital employer, as well as a critical part of the health care delivery system in Chattanooga region. It is imperative that Erlanger be successful and operate at its best. For these reasons, I hope that my expertise in the industry may be of value as a trustee."

Coleman said his current company has no relationship with Erlanger or any hospital system in this market. Alliant's business is concentrated in the Midwest, Florida Panhandle and South Alabama, he said.

Erlanger's board of trustees governs the health system. Trustees are appointed for an initial term of four years and may serve no more than eight consecutive years. The county mayor appoints six trustees, while the legislative delegation appoints four. The hospital's chief of staff also serves on the board.

Contact Elizabeth Fite at or 423-757-6673.