President/CEO: Russell F. Cox

Year founded: 1886

No. of employees: 16,500



In fall 2019 and spring 2020, all four Norton Healthcare adult-service hospitals were awarded an “A” from the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. (Pediatric hospitals are not rated by the Leapfrog Group.)

Norton Healthcare is the only Kentucky recipient of the Mission Lifeline: Regional Trailblazer Award from the American Heart Association. Norton Healthcare hospitals also received Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus and Mission: Lifeline Gold awards for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Norton Healthcare, with the support of our employee wellness program called N Good Health, received an honorable mention for the C. Everett Koop National Health Awards. The prestigious awards named for Dr. Koop, who served as U.S. surgeon general from 1982 to 1989, recognize organizations with outstanding worksite wellness programs across the nation.

Norton Healthcare is certified by Healthcare Financial Management Association as an adopter of HFMA’s Patient Financial Communications Best Practices.

Norton Healthcare has been named a LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation with a top score of 100 for two years in a row.

For two years in a row, Norton Healthcare has been named seventh nationally — and the highest in Kentucky — among large organizations (5,000-plus U.S. employees) on the Best Places to Work in IT list by IDG Insider Pro and Computerworld.

What is the vision/mission?

Norton Healthcare’s purpose is to provide quality health care to all those we serve, in a manner that responds to the needs of our communities and honors our faith heritage.

“Respect every person” is one of Norton Healthcare’s foundational values that employees commit to following as they care for patients and foster a positive work culture. In addition to providing a welcoming work culture for employees, Norton Healthcare is committed to creating a safe, accessible care environment for patients.

How did your company begin?

After the Civil War, a small group of women called the Home Mission Society of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church began raising money to build a hospital in Louisville. In 1881, Mary Louise Sutton Norton gave her elaborate home to the hospital project organizers. They sold the home and used the money to create a hospital that was then named in her husband’s memory. The John N. Norton Memorial Infirmary opened in 1886. The Rev. John N. Norton was associate rector of Christ Church Cathedral and was considered by many to be a good Samaritan because of his strong values and devotion to the poor. Originally located at Third and Oak streets, the hospital, now at 200 E. Chestnut St., continues to provide health care in the same caring spirit of its namesake.

In 1892, volunteers from a Presbyterian church, a number of community-minded physicians and citizens, and community charities created what is now Norton Children’s Hospital. They were determined child advocates led by Mary Lafon and her vision for a regional children’s hospital, Children’s Free Hospital. 

What is one thing you wish others knew about your company?

Many people think of Norton Healthcare as hospitals, but we are more than that. Norton Healthcare is not just a place to seek treatment when sick. It’s a comprehensive system of health and wellness care and Louisville’s leading health care provider. We are committed to helping our community members get healthy, stay healthy and obtain better health outcomes so they may live a better life. Also, health care is a very complex industry and there is a great deal of misinformation, particularly around the cost of care. We never want anyone to delay care out of concern for the cost. We have financial counselors available to help patients with insurance questions and to understand the portion of their bill that they will be responsible for. We have a variety of payment options and financial assistance programs available and work hard to ensure we have looked into all avenues of assistance for those in need.

Those who go into health care, whether to provide direct patient care or to support those who do, consider health care a calling. It is what motivates our workforce.

What makes your company different from competitors?

Norton Healthcare is a community-based hospital and health care system that truly is committed to investing in our community. In 2018, we gave back more than $165 million to our community through charitable giving. Norton Healthcare values and encourages our employees in giving back to our communities as well. We supported more than 400 community organizations. With leadership guidance, a contribution of 53,607 hours of community service in 2018 was valued at more than $1 million in salaries.

Norton Healthcare is committed to improving access to health care in all parts of the community, particularly in Louisville’s South End and West End. In 2019, Norton Healthcare opened a primary care practice in the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA on West Broadway and committed $5 million to the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center at 30th Street and East Muhammad Ali Boulevard. In 2019, Norton Healthcare announced it will invest an additional $20 million over five years to address health needs in underserved areas as part of its new five-step initiative to address health care inequalities both internally and within the communities it serves.

Have you had to pivot strategies over the years?

Health care continually changes with advancements in therapeutic and surgical treatments. Our gradual and multiyear shift into primarily an employed physician model continues to expand to more specialty areas, including cardiovascular, orthopedic, neurosciences and cancer. In March 2020, Norton Healthcare, UofL Physicians – Pediatrics and the University of Louisville School of Medicine finalized their affiliation agreement to form Norton Children’s Medical Group, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine. Twenty-one former UofL general pediatric and pediatric subspecialist practices, including approximately 600 providers and staff, are now part of Norton Healthcare.

Most recently, challenges created by the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, have forever changed how we respond to the health care needs of our community. One of the first things we did at Norton Healthcare was create the centralized Norton Clinical Command Center, composed of an interdisciplinary team of individuals who monitored the situation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The center quickly addressed and responded to the challenges of COVID-19 through new and innovative approaches that were used in our facilities as well as by skilled nursing facilities and other community partners we supported. Team members focused on supporting caregivers and patients, and providing analytics, daily updates and care guidelines. After much success and positive feedback about the ease and safety of our temporary drive-thru COVID-19 testing centers, Norton Healthcare recently announced plans to build a permanent drive-thru testing and diagnostic center. This innovative concept is designed to provide the community with low-contact health services, including blood draws for lab work; vaccinations; and tests for COVID-19, flu, strep and other infections from the convenience of their vehicles. It’s just one example of how we have been nimble and shifted approaches to adapt to changes in consumer preference and new circumstances.

What makes Louisville a good home for your company?

What started as one small hospital in Louisville is now the city’s fourth largest employer, having grown to a health care system with five hospitals and more than 250 locations. The system, which has a 57% share of the market, is a leader in serving adult and pediatric patients from throughout Greater Louisville, Southern Indiana, the commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. Its location in Louisville, as well as its location in the eastern-central part of the U.S., allows Norton Healthcare to serve a large number of diverse residents from both metropolitan and rural areas, and recruit from a large talent pool. Our diverse network of specialists is a critical necessity for a state that has high rates of cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes compared to the national average.