A new leader is coming to IU Health Jay.

IU Health announced this week that Dave Hyatt, who has led Jay County’s hospital since 2013, is shifting to a new role within the organization. Jon Vanator, who will continue to serve as chief financial officer for IU Health’s east central region, will add president of IU Health Jay to his duties effective June 1.

“Jon has strong roots in that area,” said president of IU Health’s east central region Jeff Bird of the Berne native. “So we really thought this was another wonderful opportunity both for IU Health Jay and for Jon Vanator.”

The change has been in the works for several months with an eye on making a seamless leadership shift, a process that was complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We wanted to just make sure that the timing was right to make a successful transition,” said Hyatt. “I think we’re going to have a very smooth transition. I think it’s going to be a great thing.

“I think Jay County’s poised for success. We’re looking forward to the next step.”

Vanator, 44, has been with IU Health for more than seven years in a variety of capacities. In his dual role as president of the local hospital and CFO for the east central region, he will be based primarily at IU Health Jay.

He said his goals are to continue work Hyatt has started, including redesigning the women and infant health strategy and looking at a new approach to how surgery services are provided. He’ll also be continuing to focus on the hospital’s key performance indicators, such as patient satisfaction and safety, wait times and costs.

“From a broader perspective, I think it’s really trying to level set the services that we’re providing with the needs of the community,” said Vanator, who currently lives in Pendleton but is looking to move to the Jay County area. “That’s way easier to say than it is to do.”

Hyatt, 36, Yorktown, will still be president of IU Health Blackford in Hartford City, where he will be primarily based.

(He has been at the helm of both IU Health Jay and IU Health Blackford since being named president of IU Health critical access hospitals for the east central region in June 2018.)

He will add the duties of leading IU Health’s strategy development and implementation for rural health, including critical access hospitals — Bedford, Frankfort, Morgan, Paoli, Tipton and White in addition to Jay and Blackford.

“It is a really important strategic role for IU Health statewide,” said Bird. “Dave’s expertise is going to serve IU Health as a system really well.

“Big change, but we think a great change for Jay and wonderful career opportunities for two of our star executives.”

That will feature looking at different healthcare models and assessing challenges to help the organization’s rural facilities adapt.

“The mission of IU Health is to make Indiana one of the healthiest states,” said Hyatt, who was president of operations at IU Health Starke and vice president of strategy and ambulatory services at IU Health LaPorte before becoming CEO of Jay County Hospital in May 2013. “We won’t be successful if we don’t have a strategy for rural areas.

“How do we adapt to that to make sure that we can elevate the health of rural Hoosiers?”

Both Hyatt and Vanator pointed out that they will continue to work together closely, as the Jay and Blackford facilities are sister hospitals in the east central region that also includes IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.

“I’m excited for it,” said Hyatt. “And I think Jon being from the area here is going to be a great leader for IU Jay. Jon gets our culture.”

“Some transitions are on purpose about change,” added Vanator. “This one’s more on purpose about continuity.”