Blake Watts Named CEO of Piedmont Walton Hospital

Press release from Piedmont Healthcare

Blake Watts, new CEO of Piedmont Walton Hospital. Contributed photo

Monroe, Ga. (March 6, 2023) – Piedmont Healthcare has named Blake Watts as CEO of Piedmont Walton Hospital. Watts, who stepped into the role at Walton in mid-February, most recently has served as CEO of Piedmont Rockdale Hospital. He replaces Larry Ebert, who has accepted the role of CEO at Piedmont Eastside Medical Center.

Watts, who joined Piedmont Rockdale Hospital, formerly Rockdale Medical Center, in 2016, has significant hospital leadership experience. He was instrumental in transitioning Piedmont Rockdale from a for-profit hospital to a nonprofit entity in the Piedmont system. He is credited with leading the hospital during the pandemic while also strengthening and expanding the clinical and supportive services offered in the community. While at Rockdale, Watts led several expansion and renovation projects, including a $12.6 million project expanding the hospital’s footprint from 138 to 161 beds and adding an intermediate care unit.

“I’m excited to announce that Blake Watts will lead Piedmont Walton Hospital as CEO,” said Michael Burnett, Piedmont Athens Regional and Piedmont’s east clinical hub CEO. “Blake is a strong leader committed to providing high-quality and safe care close to home. His demonstrated success in adding and expanding clinical services that are vital to the community will ensure Piedmont Walton continues to be the hospital of choice for patients in and around Walton County.”

While at Piedmont Rockdale, Watts also collaborated with Piedmont’s physician enterprise operations to launch medical oncology, pulmonology, and expand cardiology services introducing new clinical service lines to increase the level of care provided at the hospital. He has also played an integral role in improving quality and service scores at the hospital. 

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve the community in Rockdale County,” said Watts. “I will miss everyone on the team at Piedmont Rockdale, but I am equally excited about joining the team at Piedmont Walton and continuing the great work being done there.”

Watts began his career in healthcare as an administrator in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps as an officer. He later moved into a civilian role, joining Phoebe Putney Health System managing operations for key service lines. In 2006, Watts joined Walton Regional Medical Center as chief operating officer and associate administrator, overseeing daily hospital operations and business development opportunities. He left in 2009 to take the CEO position at Barrow Regional Medical Center before joining Piedmont Heart Institute in 2012, his first affiliation with the Piedmont system. Watts later led physician services for St. Mary’s Health Care System in Athens, GA, before joining Rockdale Medical Center shortly before it was acquired by Piedmont.

“Not only have I worked in and around Monroe for much of my career, my family and I have also lived in Walton County for almost 17 years,” said Watts. “I’m excited to be close to home, and I am committed to making sure Piedmont Walton continues to grow and meet the needs of our community.”

Watts holds master’s degrees in administration and business administration from Georgia Southwestern State University and his undergraduate degree from Mercer University. He is board certified in healthcare administration as a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the Georgia Association of Healthcare Executives. Most recently he has served as a Board Member for the Rockdale County Chamber of Commerce and Mercy Heart Clinic in Conyers, and has been a key member of the Rockdale County Chamber “Front Porch Discussions” in the community. 

About Piedmont

Piedmont is empowering Georgians by changing health care. We continue to fuel Georgia’s growth through safe, high-quality care close to home – an integrated health care system that provides a hassle-free, unified experience. Every year, we have over 30 million visits to, more than 450,000 appointments scheduled online by patients and over 100,000 virtual visits. We are a private, not-for-profit organization that for centuries has lived up to our purpose to make a positive difference in every life we touch in the communities we serve. Today our organization is supported by a work force of more than 37,000 who care for 3.4 million patients across 1,400 locations and serving communities that comprise 80 percent of Georgia’s population. This includes 22 hospitals, including three inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, 65 Piedmont Urgent Care centers, 25 QuickCare locations, 1,875 Piedmont Clinic physician practices and more than 3,000 Piedmont Clinic members. Piedmont has provided $1.4 billion in uncompensated care and community benefit programming to the communities we serve over the past five years. In 2022, Forbes ranked us No. 166 on its list of the Best Large Employers in the United States. In 2021, the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that rates hospitals on safety, awarded Piedmont more A grades than any system in Georgia.

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