Cory Darling is the administrator for St. Johns County’s newest hospital, Ascension St. Vincent’s, which is set to open in July at C.R. 210 and I-95. Originally from Michigan, Darling and his family have lived in Ponte Vedra since 2017.
Tell me about your position with Ascension St. Vincent’s. What are some of your responsibilities?
I joined Ascension St. Vincent’s in November and serve as the administrator for the new hospital being built in St. Johns County. My role is currently focused on ensuring a smooth transition to opening in July. There are many components to that, including construction, equipment outfitting, staffing, community relations and provider relations. Thankfully, we have a great team of talented folks who are involved and doing a tremendous job. We also have incredible support as part of Ascension, one of the nation’s leading health systems.
Once we open, my role will transition to “boots on ground” administrative oversight of the facility’s day-to-day operations, responsible for ensuring that the hospital delivers high-quality, compassionate and convenient health care and fulfills our community’s health needs. I’ll also be responsible for meeting various organizational objectives and ensuring that our teams have all the support needed to be successful in their respective jobs.
I am incredibly thankful to be a part of such a great organization and look forward to opening in July!
What do you like most about what you do?
I believe that working in health care is a calling. While it can be difficult and have its challenges, it’s ultimately incredibly rewarding. The perspectives that you get are immense — seeing people experiencing their best days and their worst days — and the opportunity to make an impact, be it big or small, is a true blessing. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t see someone giving their all on behalf of another person, probably a complete stranger, because they need them in that moment. No matter your role, everyone who works in a hospital has that ability and opportunity. Seeing it in action is always inspiring and what brings you back the next day.
Tell me about your background — your education, career, how you got to where you are today.
I’m originally from Michigan but moved south for school and obtained my BBA from Belmont University and my MBA from Vanderbilt University — both in Nashville, Tennessee. I have been working in health care for 16 years. During that time, I learned the “ins and outs” of hospital operations, gained valuable leadership experience and had the opportunity to work in five different markets around the country as my career developed. This all allowed me to land my current role with Ascension St. Vincent’s in 2021 and be a part of building and leading a new hospital in my home community!
Prior to my MBA and career in health care, I actually spent a few years working on music row where I pitched songs for a music publishing company. While it seems like the complete opposite from health care, the opportunity to work with people of such varied backgrounds, talents and perspectives really helped me in my career in hospital administration. (And, it was pretty fun too!)
I know Ascension St. Vincent’s is preparing to open a new facility on County Road 210. Tell me about that — what it will bring to the community, when it will open, that sort of thing.
The new hospital, being built at C.R. 210 and I-95, is scheduled to open this July. Despite all the recent national issues with supply chain, staffing shortages, etc., the project has gone very well. This is a testament to the incredible work of our teams within Ascension, our facilities partner Medxcel.
The project, including the medical office building, is a $175 million capital investment and certainly timely given the tremendous growth of the St. Johns County area and the clear need for more access to acute care services. In this first phase, our 150,000-square-foot, 56-bed hospital will provide general acute care services such as emergency services, short-term hospitalization, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and spine care, general surgical services, as well as laboratory and imaging services. The medical office building will contain various clinics offering services in cardiology, internal medicine, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, and pulmonology. All in, Ascension St. Vincent’s will be hiring over 500 new associates.
Have you lived in this area for long? What do you like most about it?
We moved to Ponte Vedra in December of 2017 from Nashville, Tennessee. My family and I absolutely love it here! We have met so many amazing people and get to enjoy all the wonderful things that this area has to offer and have the chance to be outside all year round.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My free time is usually spent with my amazing wife, Brittany, and our two boys Will (11) and Wyatt (soon to be 9). We all play a lot of tennis and will fit in some fishing and golf when we can!
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