New CEO joins Natchez Community Hospital

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 21, 2010

NATCHEZ — The drive down south to a new job as CEO of Natchez Community Hospital was like coming home for Donny Rentfro — except for one thing.

“The snow was certainly a surprise,” said Rentfro, who moved to town last Saturday. “Welcome to Mississippi would have made a great backdrop.”

Rentfro, who claims Louisiana as home, started work at the hospital last week and is spending his time getting acquainted with the staff, system and community, he said.

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Rentfro comes to Natchez from Jackson, Ky., about an hour from Lexington, where he was CEO of Kentucky River Medical Center.

“I was in Kentucky for three and a half years, until the tug of family brought us down here,” he said. “Or, me, as my wife would remind you — she is still in Kentucky until the school year ends.”

While Rentfro moved around a lot as a child, his wife, Missy, is from Baton Rouge. Rentfro’s dad was a military man, a basketball coach and then got involved in health care. All of those jobs meant a lot of moves, Rentfro said.

He graduated from Northeast Louisiana University, now known as University of Louisiana- Monroe, with an MBA in business. His first health care job involved him in the building of Baton Rouge General, on Bluebonnet Boulevard, which is where he met his wife.

Now, they have two children, Paige, 9, and Garrett, 7, who like to play baseball, basketball and soccer. Rentfro said his children are first and foremost in his life.

“They are both great kids,” he said. “I’m very happy, and obviously more than a little proud of them.”

Rentfro worked in several facilities in Texas after he left Louisiana, before he ended up in Kentucky in 2006. His professional background started in business and marketing, before making the switch to administration.

“I like to help people, but I’m not the blood and guts kind of guy,” Rentfro said. “But I want to help those who do that sort of work, they are a special breed of people.”

Rentfro said his goals for Natchez Community include a renewed focus on providing local care to locals, Rentfro said.

“I hate it when someone feels they have to go out of town for good health care,” he said. “There are so many things you can provide locally. I just want to make it so people feel comfortable staying here.”

Natchez Community has a wide range of specialties, Rentfro said, and a deep staff in a number of specialties.

“Everyone is in the same direction, keeping folks around,” he said. “I like the folks here, we have a great medical staff.”

When not on the job, Rentfro enjoys outdoor activities, such as gardening, hunting and fishing.

“I’m also a big Saints fan,” he said.