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The LaPorte Hospital board of trustees appointed a new CEO effective Wednesday.

Ashley Dickinson will be LaPorte Hospital's top executive after serving as chief operating officer of Porter Healthcare System for the past three years.

“Ashley is the right fit for LaPorte, given her expertise in recruiting providers, overseeing major capital projects and focusing on quality,” stated Mark Kosior, chairman of the LaPorte Hospital board of trustees. “We look forward to working with her to move our plans forward to enhance how we care for our community.”

Dickinson will oversee the hospital about a year after it was sold to Community Health Systems, a for-profit chain based in Tennessee.

That company, which also owns Porter Healthcare System, has since announced that it was exploring a sale and has been shedding hospitals in the face of financial difficulties. Its stock hit an all-time low of $4.98 a share late last year but was up to $9 as of Wednesday.

The new owner committed to build a new hospital as part of the sale. The hospital has said construction will begin by March 2018.

Dickinson replaces interim CEO Gigi Fergus, who departed last week. Thor Thordarson, who had been the hospital's chief executive since 2009, resigned in September.

Prior to working for Porter, Dickinson was chief operating officer and assistant CEO at Northeast Regional Medical Center, a 93-bed teaching hospital with a Level III trauma center in Kirksville, Missouri. She holds master’s degrees in health administration and business administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Oklahoma State University.

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Health Reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.