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American Telemedicine Association CEO Steps Down after 24 Years

August 8, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Following 24 years as CEO of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Jon Linkous is resigning, the organization announced yesterday.

“Jon was integral in the formation of the ATA and the telehealth industry,” Peter Yellowlees, M.D., ATA’s current board president, said in a statement that accompanied the news. “We thank Jon for his many years of service and his significant contributions to ATA and the industry he helped create.”

Linkous was recently interviewed by Healthcare Informatics for a Top Ten Tech Trend piece on telehealth earlier this year. He said in that story that “We’re over the tipping point and we’re now at the point where [telehealth] is starting to transform health delivery.”

Sabrina Smith, M.D., ATA’s current chief operating officer, will take on the role of Interim CEO. There will be a search to fill the position permanently, ATA officials said. Dr. Smith joined ATA as COO in January 2017, following more than 20 years of cross-industry experience in healthcare, academic and non-profit management roles.

According to a report in Politico’s eHealth morning brief, there have been some suggestions that Linkous might have been forced out, but that theory was shot down by Yellowlees, who told Politico that Linkous “has had a few life changes, I think,” and that “He's done a very, very good job overall, and we're sorry he's gone ... We were comfortable with what he was doing."

Yellowlees added in his statement, “With more than 10,000 members and 450 health system and industry partners, the largest international conference and trade show, and the most expansive educational telemedicine program in the world, the ATA is the international leader in telemedicine. Jon was instrumental in building this organization and we are indebted to him for building a strong foundation for future growth.”

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