Mark Ohalla

Mark O'Halla has been named CEO of Prisma Health. Provided/Prisma Health

COLUMBIA — Emphasizing that Prisma Health is no longer two separate organizations, the hospital system has eliminated its two regional president roles.

"We want to operate as one seamless organization, so regardless of where patients enter our system, they can expect a consistent, high quality level of care," Prisma CEO Mark O'Halla said. 

Prisma became South Carolina's largest healthcare system with the combination of Palmetto Health and Greenville Health System in 2017.

During the transition, the system made the unusual move of keeping two chief executives, both who stepped aside when the system named O'Halla its new leader. Taking that concentration of leadership a step further, the Midlands and Upstate president positions, previously held by John Singerling in Columbia and Spence Taylor in Greenville, also were abolished.

Taylor, who stepped down in the second half of September, told The Greenville News the change was not unexpected and called it "the right move" as roles within the system are streamlined.

With the change, more responsibility is being shifted to facility-based executives, who O'Halla said will serve as the system's local face.

O’Halla and his central executive team are based at Prisma headquarters in Greenville.

Prisma's decision to base its leadership in Greenville meant the capital city was losing another corporate headquarters, a development that once troubled Columbia business leaders concerned about a void in the community. Those worries have since been allayed. 

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"On paper, it gave us a little concern," said Columbia Chamber President Carl Blackstone. "But after sitting down to chat with (O'Halla) we had a different perspective."

"He clearly recognizes his role needs to be here and Greenville, and he's committed to being in both," Blackstone said.

O'Halla said he and his executive team are splitting their time between Columbia and Greenville, and he is stepping beyond the hospital doors, involving himself with various capital city economic development organizations.

Blackstone said he's also heard of O'Halla walking the halls of Prisma's Columbia health facilities on the weekends, which he said speaks to the new CEO's commitment here.

Prisma's joint operation has 32,000 employees and reports serving more than 1.2 million patients. By comparison, the Medical University of South Carolina employs about 13,000 workers.

Jessica Holdman is a business reporter for The Post & Courier covering Columbia. Prior to moving to South Carolina, she reported on business in North Dakota for The Bismarck Tribune and has previously written for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash.