St. Tammany Parish Hospital names new CEO

COVINGTON, LA, June 22, 2018 – On Friday, the hospital’s Board of Commissioners named Joan Coffman president and CEO of the Covington-based hospital.

John Evans, board chairman, said the search committee included local community physician leaders, board members and STPH partner Ochsner Health System.

“Among the seven of us, we find (Coffman) to be an accomplished hospital executive and an excellent choice to lead our hospital into its next phase of growth to serve our population of patients and families,” Evans said in a news release.

Coffman, a New Orleans native and fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, most recently served as president and CEO of St. Mary’s in Decatur, Illinois, a campus of Hospital Sisters Health System, a multi-facility health care system serving Illinois and Wisconsin since the 1800s.

Search committee members said she has a track record of enhancing quality, safety, patient experience and overall operating performance.

Coffman worked with Tenet Healthcare Corp. as assistant administrator of Lindy Boggs Medical Center until after Hurricane Katrina. She also served as CEO of the Louisiana Clinic, a physician clinic in New Orleans. Coffman received a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Francis and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans.

Similar to STPH, HSHS St. Mary’s is a 244-bed hospital that offers a broad range of comprehensive health services, including the latest diagnostic equipment, interventional cardiology, surgical and medical intervention, emergency medical care, outpatient radiation therapy, pain management, behavioral health and sleep center.

In December 2017, Ellish, who led the hospital for 18 years, told the board she planned to retire in 2018. Her planned last day was April 30.

The board hired executive search firm Witt/Kieffer to identify candidates to fill the vacancy.

Ellish, a 2012 CityBusiness Woman of the Year, led the hospital through a major growth period during her tenure. The hospital’s Millennium Project tripled its size, and in recent years it has been one of many healthcare facilities around the state to partner with Ochsner Health System in the post-Affordable Care Act environment.

About Witt/Kieffer

Witt/Kieffer is the preeminent executive search firm supporting organizations improving the quality of life, including those in healthcare, education, academic medicine, life sciences, and the not-for-profit sector. It also serves clients through its Board Services, Leadership Solutions and Information Technology practices, as well as its WK Advisors division, which specializes in connecting clients and emerging leaders who can move their missions and strategies forward. It serves clients globally with support of its Witt/Kieffer International affiliate. For more information, please visit

Jeanne Farrell
Marketing Communications Director

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