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CEO of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System Announces Retirement

August 03, 2023

Health System Leader Plans to Retire After Four Decades of Service

Baton Rouge, LA — Richard R. Vath, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, has announced his plans to retire in June 2024 after more than 40 years of service as a physician and healthcare administrator. Dr. Vath’s retirement marks the conclusion of a career committed to strategic innovation and the delivery of excellent patient care.

“It has been my honor to lead an organization firmly rooted in the service of others through our healing ministry,” said Richard R. Vath, MD. “I have been privileged to help set us down a path that will define the future of our healthcare system, ensuring growth and stability for years to come.”

Dr. Vath will support the search for the health system’s next leader to ensure a successful transition. Executive search firm WittKieffer has been secured and a committee formed to select the next leader of FMOLHS. Dr. Vath has served as the health system’s leader since 2019. During that time, he was responsible for setting a long-term vision for the healthcare system, spearheading expansion efforts across the region, and leading through the COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing clinical and financial challenges.

“We are deeply grateful to Dr. Vath for his outstanding leadership. Under his direction, FMOLHS has made significant progress in achieving operational excellence as an integrated operating company and has experienced substantial growth,” said Bobby Yarborough, FMOLHS Board Chair. “He has built strong partnerships and coalitions for innovation throughout our ministry and guided the expansion of FMOLHS into Mississippi.”

During his tenure with the health system, Dr. Vath led the development of the FMOLHS Health Leader’s Network (HLN) in 2014. HLN is a clinically integrated network of more than 1,400 providers committed to accelerating the quality of care delivery and demonstrating expertise in population health management. Franciscan Health Physicians, FMOLHS’ employed medical group, grew to more than 1,000 providers across two states, expanding access for the communities it serves.

Dr. Vath was among the first health system CEOs to sign the Catholic Health Association’s Confronting Racism by Achieving Health Equity pledge. To further FMOLHS’ diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, he implemented a structure to ensure the ministry offers a place of respect and inclusion, and welcomes each person’s diverse talents, experiences, and backgrounds as gifts.

“Dr. Vath lives our mission of Catholic healthcare and the unique opportunity we are called to in our ministry to see the face of Christ in all people,” stated Sr. Laura Wolf, Chair, Franciscan Calais Ministries. “He is a man of deep faith and has brought a vision and strength of service as President and CEO which has positioned us for long-term stability and strength. His imprint on FMOLHS is immeasurable.”

Dr. Vath earned his medical degree in 1977 at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed an Internal Medicine residency and Pulmonary/Critical Care fellowship at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He successfully practiced as a Pulmonary Critical Care physician in Baton Rouge for 23 years. Dr. Vath joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in 2006 as the inaugural Quality & Patient Safety Medical Director for Our Lady of Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge. He became the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer in 2008. With increasing emphasis on physician performance and quality, Dr. Vath broadened his responsibilities to the health system serving as its Chief Clinical and Transformation Officer until he was appointed health system President and CEO in 2019.

About the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System

The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is one of the largest healthcare systems based in Louisiana and is the leading healthcare provider for more than half the state’s population. The health system is a non-profit, Catholic organization sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the ministry serves patients in Louisiana and Mississippi through a network of hospitals, clinics, physicians and integrated health systems. The health system’s unified physician organization is comprised of more than 1,100 adult and pediatric primary care physicians and specialists. The system’s nine main campus hospitals include St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge and Gonzales, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Heart Hospital, and Women's & Children's Hospital in Lafayette, Our Lady of the Angels in Bogalusa, and St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Alexandra Stubbs
Director of Public Relations
Franciscan Missionaries of
Our Lady Health System



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