Sean McMurray named Ballad Health’s vice president of market operations and service line integration and development

Published 8:41 am Thursday, August 29, 2019

JOHNSON CITY — Sean McMurray, an accomplished healthcare executive with more than a decade of leadership in the Appalachian Highlands, has been named Ballad Health’s vice president of market operations and service line integration and development.

McMurray previously served as the vice president for Mountain States Health Alliance’s Northeast Market, following a successful tenure as chief executive officer of Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia.

“We’re delighted to welcome Sean home,” said Eric Deaton, Ballad Health’s chief operating officer. “His long history and deep connection to our region have granted him a nearly unparalleled level of experience and insight, which will greatly contribute to Ballad Health, our team members, physicians, patients and communities.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

McMurray began his new role on Monday. He will work closely with leadership in each of Ballad Health’s markets, hospitals and service lines as they grow, progress and adapt to better meet the region’s needs.

“Ballad Health is still in its infancy, and a lot of opportunities lie ahead to work together to accomplish our mission,” McMurray said. “We know the changing landscape of healthcare is going to require us to continue improving and producing great outcomes while lowering operational costs. It’s going to be a great challenge, and I look forward to it.”

At Johnston Memorial, McMurray navigated the hospital’s transition as it became part of Mountain States in 2008, and he was integral to the development of its current campus, which features a new building, cancer center and medical offices. He also added services, including interventional cardiology, and he was responsible for the recruitment of 100 new physicians to the medical staff, including specialists not commonly found in rural areas, such as those for infectious disease, endocrinology and nephrology. In that time, Johnston Memorial was also recognized for quality and safety by national organizations such as Becker’s Hospital Review.

“I left Johnston Memorial before the creation Ballad Health was finalized, but I was fortunately able to work on some pre-merger activities,” McMurray said. “This is a unique opportunity with the Certificate of Public Advantage and Cooperative Agreement, and I’m excited to work with our communities and also integrating and working as a team to produce the best healthcare.”

McMurray initially departed the region in July 2016 to commit to three years of full-time ministry work with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Colorado Fort Collins region. He and his wife, Kristin, were responsible for overseeing the operations of the mission, which encompasses Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado, as well as the health and wellbeing of 549 young people.

“My family and I always planned to come back,” McMurray said. “Our church asked us to do the mission, but we kept our house here and hoped and prayed there would be a place for us when it was time to come home.”

Prior to coming to this region, McMurray was part of the administrative teams for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) facilities in Longwood, Florida, as well as Athens, Chattanooga and McMinnville, Tennessee. He left HCA to lead Memorial Park Hospital in Hixson through its transition from an independent hospital into a regional faith-based system, before making Southwest Virginia home in 2003.

“My family and I love it here,” McMurray said. “My wife and I have eight children, and we raised them here — this is a great region for families. We love its people; we love its natural beauty.

“A few years ago, I ran into a man on the Virginia Creeper Trail who had searched and researched places across America, and he told me the best four-season climate in the country is within a 50-mile radius of Abingdon. The seasons aren’t too extreme, and we have beautiful falls and beautiful springs. I’m blessed to live here, and I’m blessed to have this opportunity to make our region even better through healthcare.”

McMurray earned his bachelor of science and master’s of health administration degrees from Brigham Young University. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and in 2000, that organization named him the Tennessee Youth Healthcare Executive of the Year. McMurray has also been recognized with the Donald R. Jeanes Humanitarian Leadership Award and the Servant’s Heart Award, both prestigious honors he received during his tenure with Mountain States.

He has served three terms on the board of directors for the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, as well as the boards for the United Way of Southwest Virginia, Barter Theatre and Johnston Memorial, Smyth County Community Hospital and Russell County Hospital.

To learn more about the leaders of Ballad Health, please visit