Local executive brings decades of healthcare leadership experience
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Woman’s Hospital has chosen Rene Ragas, FACHE, as its next president and chief executive officer. Ragas is a Louisiana native with more than two decades of experience as a healthcare executive in the Baton Rouge area and surrounding regions. Most recently, he has served Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL) Health System as CEO of Our Lady of the Angels Hospital in Bogalusa since 2014 and Northshore Market President since 2017.
“Woman’s is a unique specialty hospital in a complex healthcare market, and the Board was intentional in its search for a candidate with the right experience and knowledge to lead Woman’s through these unprecedented times,” said Terrie Thomas, MD, an OB-GYN and Chair of the Board at Woman’s Hospital. “We found an excellent candidate right here in our region who is already familiar with this community and the needs of our patients to lead us into the future. Rene is familiar with this community, the culture of excellence that distinguishes Woman’s Hospital, and the importance of balancing the needs of multiple audiences in this complex realm of healthcare. While he has tremendous knowledge of the business side of the industry, Rene also has a profound appreciation for the importance of meeting the needs of women during some of the most vulnerable times in their lives.”
In addition to leading operations for Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, he also oversees Our Lady of the Lake Surgical Hospital in Slidell and Our Lady of the Lake Pontchartrain Surgery Center in Mandeville, and provides oversight to a network of more than 60 primary care and specialty physicians in the Northshore region. He also provided direct executive leadership for the implementation of the Epic electronic health record system in his market.
Ragas, who also has a deeply personal connection to Woman’s, will assume the role of CEO in May.
“All three of my children were born here at Woman’s, and to have the opportunity to serve the organization where I became a father is a privilege and an honor,” said Ragas. “While this is a challenging time for everyone in healthcare, I see many opportunities for Woman’s to grow and continue the great work being done by the exceptional team already in place. I am thrilled to be joining the rich tradition of Woman’s and becoming part of its future successes.”
Ragas first joined the FMOL Health System in 1998 as the Managed Care Operations Coordinator. He has since held positions in business development, payor relations, acute care operations, and strategic projects prior to his appointment as Northshore Market President in June 2017.
A Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, Ragas earned a degree in biology from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1996 prior to completing a master’s degree in healthcare administration at Tulane University in 2000.
Ragas is a member of the Louisiana Hospital Association Board of Directors, Vizient Southern States, Northshore Business Council, and the St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of Leadership Louisiana and actively volunteers with the Louisiana Special Olympics. He also has served as adjunct faculty at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University in Baton Rouge.
Ragas will take the reins from Paul Cleckner, who has served as interim CEO since the fall when Dr. Barbara Griffith returned home to begin her tenure as CEO of Duke Raleigh Hospital.
Woman’s is a specialty hospital for women and infants with an expertise in caring for pregnant women, critically ill infants and women with cancer. It is currently the only freestanding, private, non-profit specialty hospital for women and infants in the United States and is internationally recognized for excellence in providing women’s healthcare.