The University of Mississippi Medical Center has hired a former Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi executive as its new chief financial officer. 

Jennifer Sinclair will oversee the finances and budget for the entire medical center, according to a release last month from UMMC. Her first day was April 24. 

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the medical school, described the position as “challenging” and introduced Sinclair to the Institutions of Higher Learning trustees at April’s health affairs meeting.

“I’m looking forward to it, really,” Sinclair said at the meeting. “My heart and passion and experience are on the provider side, so UMMC is obviously the largest in the state, so I’m excited to be a part of it.”

UMMC is the state’s largest public hospital. The medical center was appropriated more than $180 million this year from the Legislature and posted about $1.7 billion in revenues and expenses in fiscal year 2022

Sinclair, who has more than 23 years of experience as a health care executive, comes to UMMC from Blue Cross where she was vice president. Previously, she was the vice president and regional CFO at Bon Secours Mercy Health, the largest health system in Ohio. She also worked at St. Dominic Memorial Hospital in Jackson for 17 years in several different capacities, including executive vice president of operations and senior vice president of finance.

She graduated from Mississippi State University and is from Morton. 

Sinclair replaces Nelson Weichold, who’s been in the position just a few months shy of four years. Weichold has accepted a position with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, his home state. 

The reason for his departure has not been disclosed. UMMC could not be reached by press time.

“I want to thank Nelson for his steadfast and exemplary work as our CFO,” Woodward said in the release. “Under his leadership and through his strategic support, UMMC navigated through some unprecedented challenges and the trajectory of the Medical Center is better because of him.”

Weichold was at the helm of the hospital’s finances during the COVID-19 pandemic and a nearly year-long dispute between UMMC and Blue Cross, the state’s largest private insurer, that put UMMC out of network with the company for months. 

“We’re not glad that Nelson is leaving,” Woodward said at the meeting. “But we are very glad that we were able to secure somebody like Jennifer and have her join our team.”

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Devna Bose, a Neshoba County native, covers community health. She is a 2019 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she studied print journalism and was a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Before joining Mississippi Today, Devna reported on education at Chalkbeat Newark and at the Post and Courier’s Education Lab, and on race and social justice at the Charlotte Observer. Her work has appeared in the Hechinger Report, the Star-Ledger and the Associated Press, and she has appeared on WNYC to discuss her reporting. Devna has been awarded for her coverage of K-12 education in the Carolinas.