Baptist Health Louisville Names New President

Baptist Health Louisville. June 14, 2023

(Louisville, Kentucky) June 14, 2023 -- A Massachusetts native who combined his computer science skills with his desire to become a physician has been named president of Baptist Health Louisville.

Jonathan A. Velez, MD, will begin his new role on July 17. Current Baptist Health Louisville President Larry Gray announced his pending retirement earlier this year, wrapping up a nearly 40-year career with the state’s largest health system, including five years at the hospital’s helm.

The 51-year-old has served as chief operations and physician executive at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Ft. Myers, Florida for the past six years. Gulf Coast Medical is a growing hospital that recently expanded from 356 to 624 licensed beds; Baptist Health Louisville has 519 beds. Services offered by the two hospitals are similar, including cardiology; inpatient cancer care; weight-loss surgery; orthopedic, general, vascular and neurosurgery. Baptist Health Louisville performs the most total joint surgeries of any hospital in the Commonwealth and is a certified stroke center.

“The parallels between Dr. Velez’s current post and Baptist Health Louisville are striking, which makes him an excellent choice as president,” said Patrick Falvey, Baptist Health system chief operating officer. “He has a wealth of experience in several key areas, including building relationships with medical staff, overseeing a robot-assisted surgery program and adopting best practices to improve the quality of patient care.”

“Dr. Velez has 19 years of progressive administrative experience, and is known for his talent for bringing people together to share ideas collaboratively to foster better decision making,” said Carl Thomas, hospital administrative board chair. “We look forward to working with him at Baptist Health Louisville, where we have several major projects including a heart surgery expansion with new cath labs, a 40-bed rehabilitation hospital in the East End and our Baptist Health Breckenridge healthplex set to open in July.”

“I look forward to getting to know the staff, providers and volunteers at Baptist Health Louisville, and about the community and its healthcare needs,” said Dr. Velez. “The hospital has a strong culture and tradition of providing excellent and compassionate patient care, which has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report over the last six years as among the Commonwealth’s finest hospitals.”

Dr. Velez began his healthcare career in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he spent 11 years as an emergency medicine physician. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine graduate received his bachelor’s degree in computer science. He was employed as chief software engineer for a Massachusetts company for two years while an undergraduate at the University of Vermont.

While still working in the ER, Dr. Velez began his crossover to administrative roles melding his information technology and medicine backgrounds. In 2007, he joined Memorial Health System in Colorado Springs as its chief medical information officer, after working with the system on an electronic health record project. He was then named chief information officer.

In 2012, he moved to the Hartford HealthCare Corporation in Connecticut, serving three years as vice president and chief medical information officer for the five-hospital system. While there, he led a 20-month effort to implement the Epic electronic medical record – the system used by Baptist Health. In 2015, he was promoted to vice president of medical affairs, still focusing on the Epic deployment, but also on patient safety and quality of care efforts. In 2017, he moved to Florida to join Lee Health’s Gulf Coast Medical Center.

In his spare time, Dr. Velez is an instrument rated private pilot. He and his wife Oksana – an accomplished violinist – have two sons who attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.