New Parkridge Health System CEO Chris Cosby eyes future growth with focus on patient care

Photography by Olivia Ross / Chris Cosby, CEO of Parkridge Health System
Photography by Olivia Ross / Chris Cosby, CEO of Parkridge Health System

In March, Chris Cosby was named to head Parkridge Health System, overseeing six sites of medical care in Chattanooga owned by HCA Healthcare, the world's biggest hospital chain.

Cosby, who has previously worked at five other hospitals during his 18 years in healthcare leadership, succeeded Tom Ozburn who over the past six years helped grow Parkridge into Chattanooga's second biggest hospital.

Cosby, 42, has previously worked for nonprofit, government and for-profit hospitals in Alabama, Georgia and now Tennessee. Prior to joining Parkridge Health, Cosby served as chief executive officer of Tenet Health's Saint Francis Healthcare in Memphis.

"It may look like I couldn't keep a job, but I was getting promoted, on average, every 19 months," Cosby says.

In his new job, Cosby is eager to continue to expand Parkridge with additional facilities planned at both Parkidge East in East Ridge and the main Parkridge campus in Glenwood. But Cosby says he is most focused on the people in the organization and most importantly the hospital patient.

"I want us to be the provider of choice in this market for the patient and we want to the employer of choice for our employees," he says. "We want to treat everyone here like family."

A native of Dothan, Alabama, Cosby says he learned about health care from his mom, who opened a number of surgery centers, and he learned about how to treat people in business from his father, who owned a heating and cooling business started by Cosby's grandfather.

Cosby knew from a young age he wanted to work in healthcare and pursued a healthcare administration degree from Auburn University and got his MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

At the age of 31, Cosboy says he turned down a CEO job offer in Alabama because he thought he needed more experience. He took a job as a chief operating officer with an HCA hospital in Augusta, Georgia, where he says he learned a lot to help him develop as a healthcare leader.

"I didn't think I was ready to be a CEO yet and it turned out to be the right decision," he recalls. "A lot of people chase titles and money, but I think that can be a mistake. You need to chase opportunities that chase you best."

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