HealthStar welcomes new CEO Rita Bunch

HealthStar welcomes new CEO Rita Bunch

For Rita Bunch, newly hired chief executive officer of HealthStar Physicians, accepting the position was like planning a homecoming. Originally from Tazewell, where her family continues to reside, Bunch has returned home.

Bunch began her career in healthcare at Morristown Hamblen Healthcare System in 1997. During her time at the hospital, she worked in risk management-first as the assistant manager, then as the executive director of medical risk services-until she left in 2004. She reminisced about how she got to know and work with many people in the area during that time, making it easy to return home 14 years later.

Bunch has an impressive and strong background in healthcare. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Administration and a Master’s in Public Health from East Tennessee State University. She spent time working in Texas before becoming vice president and chief operating officer at High Point Regional in North Carolina. Most recently, Bunch was serving as the interim president of Sentara CarePlex System in Virginia when she accepted the CEO position at HealthStar Physicians. “I elected to leave my position at Sentara CarePlex to return to my roots, where my heart is, and to serve the community where my career began,” Bunch said.

The extensive CEO search was facilitated by State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company (SVMIC), HealthStar Physicians’ insurance and consulting company. SVMIC interviewed and surveyed the physicians as well as the executive team to determine the necessary qualifications needed for new leadership. In stages, over several months, the shareholder-appointed hiring board narrowed down the pool of candidates from 100 to a final round of three.

“After a thorough and rigorous process, the hiring board and shareholders concluded Rita to be the best individual, out of all the highly qualified candidates, to assume leadership of the group,” said Trish Adams, HealthStar Physicians’ director of development and marketing. “Rita has a proven track record as a successful leader and executive in the healthcare industry. She is a great fit and we are delighted she accepted the position.”

“We are confident that Rita’s leadership and expertise, combined with her dedication to this community, will serve as a solid foundation–one that most certainly matches what this group was founded on and continues to strive for,” said Dr. Eric Delay, president of HealthStar Physicians. “Rita is truly an asset to our team.”
Bunch began her position on March 5. She said she wants to give back to the community and add services that will further the mission of providing excellent quality, with comprehensive care that is second to none.

HealthStar Physicians is a multi-specialty group that serves four counties, with 100 providers, over 500 employees and 16 specialties in 12 locations. Bunch said she hopes to expand services to up to eight counties.

“HealthStar is already a quality organization, and this is an opportunity to bring it to the next level,” Bunch said. “I am completely invested in my position as CEO. Consequently, I look forward to serving this community again, for many years to come, because it’s more than just a job to me-it is home.”