CANTON — Paul Hiltz, who has led Mercy Medical Center as its chief executive officer since 2017, is leaving the Canton area.

He has accepted a a position with NCH Healthcare System, a two-hospital Mayo Clinic Care Network affiliate in Naples, Fla., according to a news release this afternoon from the Sisters of Charity Health System.

Thomas J. Strauss, who serves as president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System, will take on the additional role of interim CEO at Mercy, one of two Catholic hospitals the system operates in Ohio.

“Mercy Medical Center has truly shone under Paul’s leadership. He has helped transform Mercy’s operations and positioned it well for the future while maintaining steadfast commitment to high-quality Catholic health care,” Strauss said in the news release. “During his tenure, Mercy received 4 stars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and achieved high marks from The Joint Commission, the American Heart Association and The LeapFrog Group.”

Mercy Medical Center’s recent achievements and successes, the release noted, include “delivering a higher standard of care for treatment of heart attack patients; several consecutive years of national recognition for outstanding quality care for cancer patients; new technology for preventing infections; innovative approaches to patient safety and monitoring; and investments in Plain Township and northeast Canton that expanded outpatient and dental services, and helped boost the regional economy.”

Hiltz’s last day with Mercy will be Aug. 30.

“During my time here, the board and I worked to cultivate a leadership team that is fully prepared to take Mercy Medical Center boldly into the future,” Hiltz said in the news release. “Our focus on leadership development and formation has created a depth of capable, creative and committed servant leaders with a firm foundation in our Catholic identity and principles, and I have great confidence in the future of Mercy.”

Since 2017, Strauss has served as president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System, which includes two Catholic hospitals, two skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, three grantmaking foundations addressing the root causes of poverty and six health and human service outreach organizations in Ohio and South Carolina. He joined the health system from CEO Advisory Network, where he was managing member and co-founder.

Previously, Strauss led Summa Health System for 15 years, during which time Summa experienced significant growth in market share and financial revenues and earned the NorthCoast 99 award for best workplaces in Northeast Ohio for 11 consecutive years. His background also includes leadership roles for Meridia Health System, Baxter Health Care Corporation and Allegheny General Hospital.

“In addition to operational strength and leadership, Mercy Medical Center is fortunate to have outstanding physicians without whom fulfilling our mission of providing high quality care would be impossible,” Strauss said. “I am confident that together we will continue to build on our recent successes and continue to meet the needs of the individuals, families and communities we serve.”

Jack Gravo, chairman of Mercy Medical Center’s board of directors, called it an honor for Strauss to increase his presence and leadership of the hospital’s executive team, and he praised Hiltz’s tenure.

“We sincerely thank Paul, and wish him well as he moves to Florida and continues his accomplished career,” Gravo said.

Hiltz also served as chairman of ArtsinStark’s 2019 Annual Arts Campaign, which raised $1.6 million.

His departure is a loss to Canton, said Robb Hankins, president and CEO of ArtsinStark. “He was a great community leader who were counting on to do even more magnificent stuff in the future.”