James Kirby, CEO

James M. Kirby, II, MHA, MBA

President and Chief Executive Officer

James "Jay" Kirby is the President and CEO of Pardee UNC Health Care, a $340 million not-for-profit health care system serving western North Carolina. Founded in 1953 and managed by UNC Health, Pardee includes a 222-bed acute care hospital, the only comprehensive cancer center in Henderson County, urgent care centers, six orthopedic clinics, and a physician practice network with 341 physicians representing 46 medical specialties and 139 providers representing 25 allied health areas. With nearly 1,500 team members, Pardee is the second-largest employer in Henderson County.

Kirby was named Pardee’s CEO in 2011, bringing more than 30 years of healthcare management experience. Under Kirby’s leadership, Pardee has consistently grown its market share, increasing net operating revenues from $138 million in 2011 to $340 million in 2021, while expanding its services to include board certified interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeons, and establishing only the second STEMI-certified emergency department in all of western North Carolina. During Kirby’s tenure, Pardee has added key specialties such as pulmonology, neurology, oncology, thoracic surgery and infectious disease, in addition to adding the region’s second largest orthopedic group that resulted in a 40 percent increase in orthopedic volumes.

Kirby has kept innovative partnerships at the forefront of Pardee’s goals. In a unique collaboration with city and county governments, Blue Ridge Community College, Wingate University and Pardee, a state of the art Health Science Center was built in 2016 that is home to Pardee’s 90,000 square foot Cancer Center, Wingate University’s Western Campus and Blue Ridge Community College’s School of Allied Health. More recently, Pardee developed and syndicated an Ambulatory Surgery Center in partnership with EmergeOrtho, Carolina Spine & Neurosurgery, and Carolina Ophthalmology. Because of these and many other innovations, Pardee has been recognized by HealthGrades as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” every year since 2019 and earned HealthGrades’ Patient Safety Excellence Award on multiple occasions.

Before joining Pardee, Kirby served as senior vice president and chief administrative officer for Self Regional Healthcare, an independent, regional referral system in Greenwood, South Carolina, compromised of a 421-bed hospital, an integrated medical group of 200+ providers, over 2,200 team members, and the second-largest family practice residency program for the Medical University of South Carolina. Prior to Self Regional Healthcare, he held executive-level positions within WestCare Health System in Bryson City and Sylva, North Carolina.

Kirby earned both a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Health Administration from the University of South Carolina and holds an MBA from the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business at Elon University. He is a certified Medical Practice Executive and an American College of Healthcare Executives Fellow. An active community leader, Kirby has served on the boards of Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), Western North Carolina Health Network, YMCA of Western North Carolina, the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, The Blood Connection, and United Way of Henderson County.