60 rural hospital and health system CEOs to know | 2019

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Becker's Healthcare is pleased to recognize 60 rural hospital CEOs to know in 2019.

Becker's Healthcare accepted nominations for this list and considered leaders making a positive impact on their organizations. The CEOs featured lead hospitals consistently recognized by the National Rural Health Association, American Hospital Association and HIMSS as top institutions. Others sit on local chamber of commerce boards and serve state hospital associations.

Note: This list is not an endorsement of any individual or institution featured. Individuals do not pay and cannot pay for inclusion on this list.

Contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com with any questions about this list.

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Todd Ahrens. President and CEO of Hannibal (Mo.) Regional Healthcare System. Mr. Ahrens became general counsel for Hannibal Regional Healthcare System in 2007 after spending time with Rendlen Law Firm and as partner of Ahrens, Hale & Lemon. He has since become president and CEO of the health system, responsible for the organization's 1,000 team members. He is a member of the Missouri Bar and the Tenth Judicial Circuit Bar Association.

Dale Alward. CEO of Twin County Regional Healthcare (Galax, Va.). Mr. Alward leads Twin County Regional Hospital, a 141-bed hospital. He has more than 34 years of experience in healthcare leadership, previously serving as CEO of Miami-based Mercy Hospital, where he was credited for accelerating growth. The hospital also implemented new services including orthopedics and oncology during his time at the helm and recruited several specialists.

Duke Anderson. President and CEO of Hillsdale (Mich.) Hospital. Mr. Anderson was promoted to president and CEO of the 47-bed Hillsdale Hospital in 2007. He previously served as the COO of the facility, which provides care to more than 47,000 area residents and is home to a 39-bed skilled nursing facility and a 10-bed psychiatric care unit. Before moving into hospital administration, Mr. Anderson held a variety of leadership roles at community health organizations, including Coldwater, Mich.-based Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency.

Sandra L. Anderson. Hospital President of Howard Young Medical Center (Woodruff, Wis.), Ascension Eagle River (Wis.) Hospital, Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital (Tomahawk, Wis.) and Ascension St. Mary's Hospital (Rhinelander, Wis.). In her role, Ms. Anderson is responsible for monitoring performance improvement, quality initiatives, and physician and staff retention. She works with hospital leadership to leverage positive working relationships with hospital affiliates and was instrumental in establishing the Wisconsin Academy of Rural Medicine within the UW Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. During her tenure, Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital was named among the top 20 critical access hospitals for best practices in quality by the National Rural Health Association for 2017.

Donald Babb. CEO and Executive Director of Citizens Memorial Healthcare (Bolivar, Mo.). After founding the 86-bed hospital in 1982, the hospital district hired Mr. Babb to serve as the institution's first CEO. He has served in the role for more than 35 years, during which the hospital transformed from a rural care facility into a fully integrated healthcare system. Under Mr. Babb's leadership, the facility became the first rural hospital to be awarded a HIMSS Stage 7 designation in 2010. His leadership and community efforts led the hospital to create the Donald J. Babb Award, which recognizes individuals who have expressed an interest, involvement and commitment to Mr. Babb's vision and have used their influence to improve care delivery in Bolivar.

Karen Barber, RN. CEO of Yoakum (Texas) Community Hospital. Founded in 1922, Yoakum Community Hospital has undergone several expansions and service additions since Ms. Barber took the helm in 2006. Under her leadership, the hospital expanded to include a 21,000-square-foot medical office building in 2014. Ms. Barber began her career at the 25-bed critical access hospital as a nurse in 1992. In 2010, she received the Texas Hospital Association's Pioneer Award, which recognizes individuals' excellence in rural hospital management.

Bert Beard. CEO of Maria Parham Medical Center (Henderson, N.C.). Mr. Beard is the CEO of Maria Parham Medical Center, a 294-bed acute care hospital where he is responsible for daily operations and acts as the primary liaison to physician services. Under his leadership, the hospital launched an $81 million renovation project and expanded its cardiology program. The hospital also earned the Chest Pain Certification from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care in April 2016.

Scott Berlucchi. President and CEO of Auburn (N.Y.) Community Hospital. Mr. Berlucchi is president and CEO of Auburn Community Hospital, a nonprofit community hospital with more than 130-year history. Under his leadership, the hospital achieved the New York State Department of Health's Stroke Care Designation and created The Stardust Community Birthing Center. In 2018, the hospital achieved the Blue Distinction Center+ designation for bariatric surgery.

Syd Bersante, RN. Market President for the Pierce County Region at CHI Franciscan Health (Enumclaw, Wash.). Ms. Bersante oversees operations for three hospitals and a staff of more than 2,700 members across CHI Franciscan Health, which she has been with for more than 25 years. Under Ms. Bersante's leadership, St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., announced its intent in October 2018 to sponsor the first general surgery residency of its kind in Pierce County to address the area's physician shortage. Before joining CHI Franciscan Health in 1995, Ms. Bersante held leadership roles at Harborview Medical Center and the UW Medical Center, both in Seattle.

Darrold Bertsch. CEO of Sakakawea Medical Center (Hazen, N.D.). Mr. Bertsch has served as CEO of Sakakawea Medical Center since 2011. During his tenure, the hospital broke ground on a new $30.5 million facility, which opened in April 2017. The new hospital is home to a health clinic, expanded emergency room and surgical area, and handicap-accessible patient rooms, among other improvements. A healthcare leader with more than 40 years of experience, Mr. Bertsch is an active proponent of rural healthcare delivery. He also serves as the CEO of Beulah, N.D.-based Coal Country Community Health Center.

Dan Brinkman, RN. Regional CEO of the East Hawaii Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (Honolulu). Mr. Brinkman serves as chief executive of the East Hawaii region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp., which operates three area hospitals. The system's flagship hospital, Hilo Medical Center, is a 157-bed facility with 1,100 employees, including 250 community physicians and medical professionals across 33 specialties. The hospital houses the second-largest emergency room in the state by patient volume and provides care to more than 49,000 patients annually. Mr. Brinkman joined the health system in 2007 as chief nurse executive and was promoted to regional COO in 2014 before being named CEO.

Katherine Bunting, PhD, MSN, RN. President and CEO of Fairfield (Ill.) Memorial Hospital. The nonprofit critical access Fairfield Memorial has more than 250 employees, including more than 90 credentialed physicians and providers. During Ms. Bunting's tenure, Fairfield Memorial received accreditation by The Joint Commission, and its skilled care unit was ranked among the best nursing homes in the nation by U.S. News & World Report every year from 2012-15. Along with her role as head of the 25-bed hospital, Ms. Bunting has held leadership roles with the Illinois Hospital Association and the Illinois Rural Health Association.

Dennis Burke. President and CEO of Good Shepherd Health Care System (Hermiston, Ore.). Established in 1954, the nonprofit hospital has more than 500 employees and more than 40 physicians on its medical staff. Under Mr. Burke's leadership, the health system was named among the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in America by the National Rural Healthcare Association in 2011. In addition to his role as chief executive of Good Shepherd, Mr. Burke also served on the American Hospital Association's Small and Rural Governing Council as an alternate and contributed to the organization's efforts to develop a transitional care program. (1, Old list)

Jason Cleckler, BSN. CEO of Delta (Colo.) County Memorial Hospital. The American Hospital Association awarded Mr. Cleckler, a noted rural healthcare advocate, its Grassroots Champion Award for his leadership at Delta County Memorial Hospital. AHA bestowed the honor on him because he is a tireless advocate for patients and hospitals. Mr. Cleckler is a member of the Colorado Hospital Association board of trustees and serves on the boards of Western Health Care Alliance and Collaborative Care Organization.

Randy Cason. President of Ascension Via Christi Hospital (Pittsburg, Kan.). Mr. Cason ensures the 550-employee Ascension Via Christi Hospital provides care to the entire tri-state area. Stepping into the president role in 2010, he led the hospital through a brand change and then a major remodel. Mr. Cason is also active in Pittsburg's government, serving as a past Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce chairman of the board and current Kansas Hospital Association board member.

Kenneth Joseph Cochran, DSc, RN. President and CEO of Opelousas (La.) General Health System. Dr. Cochran has led Opelousas General, which has 209-beds and two campuses, since 2015. Joining the hospital during a decadelong negative revenue and margin trend, Dr. Cochran has reshaped the system, growing revenues by more than 30 percent and EBITDA by 50 percent. Dr. Cochran also expanded the health system by building an 11,000-square-foot cancer center and bringing 20 new physicians into the system.

David Conejo. CEO of Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (Gallup, N.M.). Mr. Conejo oversees the 60-bed acute care Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services. With a staff of 500, including 70 providers, the hospital sees an estimated 150,000 people living in northwest New Mexico and eastern Arizona. Mr. Conejo has received several honors throughout his career, including the Torch Essence of Leadership Award and the American Hospital Association's Foster G. McGaw Prize.

Robert C. Copple. President of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan (Kan.). Joining Ascension in 2016, Mr. Copple runs the only full-service hospital in Manhattan, Kan. Under his leadership, the hospital partnered with nearby Wamego (Kan.) Health Center to provide $7 million in community benefit during fiscal year 2018. Mr. Copple notably formed a partnership with a nearby Army hospital contracted with several active-duty military physicians to work as hospitalists, helping Ascension Via Christi with physician coverage and providing additional clinical training to the service members.

John Dalton. President of Northern Light Inland Hospital (Waterville, Maine). After assuming the president role in 2006, Mr. Dalton notably led the hospital through a brand change as it became Northern Light Inland Hospital to bear the name of its parent organization, Northern Light Health, of which Mr. Dalton serves as senior vice president. Mr. Dalton is also involved in his community, serving on the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce public policy committee. Before joining Northern Light, Mr. Dalton had a a 25-year career in healthcare.

Thomas Dee. President and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (Bennington). Mr. Dee joined Southwestern Vermont Health Care in 2009. In his role as president and CEO, Mr. Dee oversees operations at the six-affiliate system, including the flagship 99-bed Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. His tenure has been marked by excellence, with the hospital securing several honors, including designation as a Magnet for Nursing Excellence four times, inclusion on Vermont Magazine's Best Places to Work list, and recognition from The Joint Commission as a top performer on key quality measures.

Kris Doody, RN. CEO of Cary Medical Center (Caribou, Maine). Beginning as a certified nurse's aide at the age of 15, Ms. Doody ascended to the top spot at Cary Medical Center in 1999. She pairs her experience as a nurse with her vision as a business leader. Ms. Doody's leadership has led to the hospital receiving several honors, including the 2018 Women's Choice Award, a 2018 Red Cross Real Hero Biomedical Award and an "A" rating from the Leapfrog Group in 2017.

Sean Fadale. President and CEO of Community Memorial Hospital (Hamilton, N.Y.). Stepping into the president role in 2012, Mr. Fadale brought a wealth of rural hospital management experience to the position. An American College of Healthcare Executives fellow, he is also a licensed physical therapist. Under his leadership, Community Memorial Hospital became the only hospital in New York state with a five-star quality rating from CMS.

Warren Forgey. President and CEO of Schneck Medical Center (Seymour, Ind.). Joining the hospital in 1992 as assistant controller, Mr. Forgey rose through the ranks to become president and CEO in 2015. A fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and American College of Healthcare Executives, Mr. Forgey oversees 1,000 employees, 125 volunteers and nearly 200 physicians. Under his leadership, Schneck recently received international recognition from Baby-Friendly USA as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility.

Vallerie L. Gleason, RN. President and CEO of Newton (Kan.) Medical Center. Ms. Gleason is responsible for the day-to-day operations for the 103-bed Newton Medical Center. She joined Newton in 2004 as vice president of physician services, and served as the hospital's chief clinical integration officer before becoming president and CEO in 2016. Under Ms. Gleason's leadership, Newton Medical Center achieved a five-star CMS rating.

Rod Harkleroad. CEO of Haywood Regional Medical Center (Clyde, N.C.). Mr. Harkleroad oversees the 149-bed Haywood Regional Medical Center. He has a background in nursing, and during his time at the helm Haywood Regional earned the designation as a Duke LifePoint Quality Affiliate as part of LifePoint's National Quality Program. The designation recognizes healthcare organizations that transform their culture of safety and achieve quality care standards, performance improvement and patient engagement.

Ed Harding. President and CEO of Bay Area Medical Center (Marinette, Wis.). Mr. Harding became president and CEO of Bay Area Medical Center in 2010. He previously served as president and CEO of Columbus (Wis.) Community Hospital. Under his leadership, Bay Area Medical Center approved a joint venture with Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care to expand access to care in Marinette and surrounding communities. In January, Advocate Aurora Health — the merged entity of Aurora and Chicago-based Advocate Health Care — assumed full ownership of Bay Area Medical Center, with the deal expected to close midyear.

Steve Heatherly. CEO of Harris Regional Hospital (Sylva, N.C.). In March 2012, Mr. Heatherly became president and CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. He had previous experience in finance and strategy leadership at Harris and Swain dating back to 2001. In his current role, Mr. Heatherly oversees operations at the 86-bed Harris Regional Hospital and 48-bed Swain Community Hospital, which include subspecialties such as general surgery, sports medicine and cardiopulmonology.

Leonard Hernandez. CEO of Coffey Health System (Burlington, Kan.). Mr. Hernandez became CEO of the 300-employee Coffey Health System in September 2015. He previously spent more than 25 years as a healthcare CEO in rural Kansas and successfully directed and implemented five hospital conversions from a prospective payment system to cost-based reimbursement. In December 2018, Mr. Hernandez was appointed to the American Hospital Association's Institute for Diversity and Equity's board of directors.

John Hill. President and CEO of Bozeman (Mont.) Health. Mr. Hill became president and CEO of Bozeman Health in August 2016, bringing more than 20 years of healthcare executive experience to the role. He previously served as senior vice president and CEO of Springfield, Ore.-based PeaceHealth Oregon West Network. Under his leadership, PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend, one of the facilities at which he oversaw operations, made significant gains in quality and patient-safety outcomes.

Dale Humphrey. CEO Saint Thomas River Park Hospital (McMinnville, Tenn.). In his current role, Mr. Humphrey oversees the 125-bed Saint Thomas River Park Hospital. Before joining Saint Thomas, he served as the CEO of Lexington, Tenn.-based Henderson County Community Hospital and COO of the Regional Hospital of Jackson (Tenn.). He is involved in the United Way of West Tennessee, Rotary International and the West Tennessee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

David Keith. President and CEO of McAlester (Okla.) Regional Health Center. Mr. Keith serves as president and CEO of McAlester Regional Health Center, a 171-bed public trust hospital serving southeastern Oklahoma. At McAlester, Mr. Keith oversaw the $11.8 million investment in an emergency center, added family medicine and internal medicine residency programs, recruited specialists and added new outpatient service lines and inpatient tertiary services. Prior to joining the health center in 2011, Mr. Keith served as the COO of Bakersfield, Calif.-based Kern Medical Center.

Paul Korth. CEO of Cookeville (Tenn.) Regional Medical Center. Mr. Korth oversees a team of about 200 physicians in more than 40 surgical specialties. The hospital has a continuous focus on expansion and improving services to meet the needs of the surrounding community. In December, Cookeville Regional launched a specialty pharmacy medications services program through its outpatient pharmacy and added multiple orthopedic surgeons during the second half of 2018.

Steve Massey. President and CEO of Westfields Hospital & Clinic (New Richmond, Wis.). Mr. Massey joined Westfields Hospital as president and CEO in August 2011. He led the hospital through a number of strategic initiatives, including the merger of Westfields Hospital and New Richmond Clinic to form Westfields Hospital & Clinic in 2013. Prior to joining Westfields Hospital, he served as CFO at Osceola (Wis.) Medical Center and held previous leadership positions at Allina Health and Fairview Health Services, both based in Minneapolis.

Kim Miller, RN. President and CEO of Beaver Dam (Wis.) Community Hospitals. Ms. Miller oversees Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, a nonprofit hospital system with more than 900 employees. She has more than 19 years of experience as a hospital CEO and led the transformation of Beaver Dam's culture by developing a strategic vision for growth. Ms. Miller serves as the chair of the Vizient-Upper Midwest Region Board, sits on the Health System 100 Advisory Board and serves on the American College of Healthcare Executives Journal of Healthcare Management editorial board.

Patrick O'Donnell. President and CEO of Summit Health, Executive Vice President of WellSpan Health (Chambersburg, Pa.). Mr. O'Donnell oversees Summit Health, a two-hospital nonprofit health system serving Franklin County, Pennsylvania that officially became a part of WellSpan Health in November. . Summit Health recently began construction of a medical office building in Greencastle, Pa. He previously served as Summit Health's senior vice president and CFO.

Vince Oliver. CEO of Island Hospital (Anacortes, Wash.). Mr. Oliver joined Island Hospital in May 2000, turning around a $2 million loss in 2000 to $10 million-plus net revenue over the next three years. Under his leadership, Island Hospital received a certificate of commendation from Medicare quality improvement organization Qualis Health. Mr. Oliver spent 22 years as a surface warfare officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve before retiring in 1999 with the rank of commander.

Amy Pollard, RN. President and CEO of Noyes Health (Dansville, N.Y.). Ms. Pollard serves as president and CEO of Noyes Health, which includes oversight of the 67-bed Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital and Noyes Mental Health & Wellness Services, both based in Dansville. Ms. Pollard joined Noyes Memorial Hospital in 2007 as the vice president of patient services, where she was tasked with mentoring nurse managers, improving care quality and coordinating efforts to ensure the hospital met Joint Commission standards. In 2011, at a time when the hospital was struggling financially, she was promoted to president and CEO. Ms. Pollard, along with her visionary board, successfully launched a turnaround effort by selecting University of Rochester (N.Y.) as a strategic partner and guiding the hospital through that affiliation. In 2017, Ms. Pollard was the recipient of Rochester Business Journal's Healthcare Achievement Award for her efforts to improve the quality of healthcare in the region, and was installed as a New York state senate woman of distinction, which recognized her distinguished career in nursing and healthcare.

Jayne Pope, RN. CEO of Hill Country Memorial Health System (Fredericksburg, Texas). Ms. Pope serves as CEO of Hill Country Memorial Health Systeml, an 86-bed facility comprising 650 employees, 200 volunteers and 140 medical staffers. Ms. Pope became CEO of Hill Country Memorial in 2013, after serving as CNO. Before joining Hill Country Memorial, Ms. Pope served as CEO of clinic systems at Lone Star Circle of Care, a network of clinics in Central Texas, and CNO of St. David's Georgetown (Texas) Hospital. Ms. Pope is a member of the Texas Hospital Association's Board of Trustees and the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals.

Mary Ellen Pratt. CEO of St. James Parish Hospital (Lutcher, La.). Ms. Pratt was selected to serve as CEO of St. James Parish Hospital, a 25-bed critical access facility, in 2007. Prior to joining St. James, Ms. Pratt served as administrator of Lexington, Miss.-based UMMC Holmes County Hospital and Clinics for three years and assistant administrator at Thibodaux (La.) Regional Medical Center for 12 years. In 2012, Ms. Pratt received the Community Leader Award from the River Parishes Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of her efforts to improve healthcare in the region. Ms. Pratt serves as chair of the American Hospital Association's Small and Rural Hospital Governing Council.

Norman Price. CEO of Southwest Health System (McComb, Miss.). As CEO of Southwest Health System, which includes Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, Mr. Price oversees an integrated healthcare delivery network comprising a hospital, cardiovascular institute, cancer institute and ASC, among other services. The 165-bed facility serves patients from across Southwest Mississippi and its emergency services are classified as a level 3 trauma center. In August 2018, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce recognized the hospital as the Business of the Month, which at the time employed about 1,200 people.

Denise Ray, BSN, RN. CEO of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital (Jasper, Ga.). For the last six years, Ms. Ray has served as CEO of 52-bed Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, where she oversees more than 500 employees who handled 41,000 outpatient encounters and 3,300 inpatient admissions in 2018. Under her leadership, Piedmont Mountainside went 1,091 days without a serious patient safety event and was able to decrease staff turnover by 5.7 percent. Ms. Ray also serves as CNO of Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare, where she is responsible for the 11-hospital system's more than 6,600 nursing employees. For her leadership at Piedmont, in 2017 Ms. Ray was named among the Atlanta Business Chronicle's Who’s Who in Healthcare. She first joined Piedmont Mountainside in 2008 as COO.

Steven Rose, RN. President and CEO of Nanticoke Health Services (Seaford, Del.). Mr. Rose serves as president and CEO of Nanticoke Health Services, which includes the 99-bed Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, the Nanticoke Physician Network and the Nanticoke Health Foundation. Mr. Rose began his career in hospital administration in 1978, serving as CNO of a hospital in Philadelphia, which makes 2019 his 41st year serving in a hospital administration position. Under his leadership, Nanticoke Health Services joined Christiana Care Quality Partners ACO as a Medicare Shared Savings Program participant. In addition to his chief executive role, Mr. Rose has served as chair of the Delaware Hospital Association board of directors.

Maria Ryan, PhD, APRN. CEO of Cottage Hospital (Woodsville, N.H.). Dr. Ryan began her career in healthcare at age 16, when she served as a certified nursing assistant. From there, Dr. Ryan's career blossomed, leading her to serve in several hospitals before joining Cottage Hospital as CNO and COO. In 2010, she was promoted to CEO of the 35-bed hospital, where she oversees 300 employees and 30 medical professionals. Under her leadership, the hospital achieved meaningful use stage 2 in the first qualifying period and was honored by Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., for her efforts in creating an outreach program centered on cancer prevention and early detection. In 2017, Dr. Ryan received the Outstanding Woman in Business award from the New Hampshire Business Review. She is chair of the New Hampshire Rural Health Coalition, of which she has been a member since 2010.

Dave Shannon. CEO of Three Rivers (Mich.) Health. Mr. Shannon oversees Three Rivers Health, a nonprofit community hospital with 60 licensed beds and outpatient services. He has experience engaging employees, physicians and community members around strategic initiatives such as service line expansion and clinical affiliations. He has more than 26 years of experience in healthcare executive leadership, including work in quality and patient safety efforts.

Robert Schmitt. CEO of Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services (Gibson City, Ill.). Mr. Schmitt, who has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare leadership, first joined Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services as CFO in 2002. In 2007, he was promoted to CEO of the 63-bed facility. Mr. Schmitt oversees nearly 700 employees who helped conduct 50,140 outpatient visits and 5,744 emergency department visits in fiscal year 2017. He is a fellow of both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Rachelle H. Schultz, EdD. President and CEO of Winona (Minn.) Health. Dr. Schultz is the CEO of Winona Health, which includes a 99-bed acute care hospital, a 125-bed nursing home, three assisted living facilities, retail pharmacies, physician clinics and a foundation. Prior to joining Winona Health, Dr. Schultz served in several positions at Phoenix-based Banner Health, including administrator for a skilled nursing residence and director of rehabilitation services. She also served as CEO of Lookout Memorial Hospital in Spearfish, S.D. Dr. Schultz currently serves on the board of the Performance Excellence Network and was the 2017 chair of the American Hospital Association's Governing Council for Small and Rural Hospitals. She is also the board chair for the Minnesota Rural ACO, formed in 2016.

Dennis Shelby. CEO of Wilson Medical Center (Neodesha, Kan.). Mr. Shelby, a longtime healthcare leader, has been CEO of Wilson Medical Center since 2011. Prior to joining Wilson, Mr. Shelby served as CEO at four other hospitals. At Wilson she is responsible for oversight of operations at the hospital's 15-bed inpatient unit, two-room emergency department, a surgical and recovery suite and several outpatient clinics. Under his leadership, the hospital opened a rural health clinic in Independence, Kan. In 2017, Mr. Shelby was named a distinguished alumni by Hope International University in Fullerton, Calif., for his work in healthcare.

Matt Sells. CEO of Shenandoah (Iowa) Medical Center. Mr. Sells spent time as CFO of Shenandoah Medical Center before becoming CEO of the hospital. Since taking the helm, Mr. Sells worked with three local retail pharmacies to establish a 340B program and arranged the financing for a $25 million building addition and renovation project. The hospital also underwent EMR implementation under his watch.

Bryan Slaba. Administrator and CEO of Wagner Community Memorial Hospital- Avera (Sioux Falls, S.D.). Mr. Slaba joined Wagner Community Memorial Hospital- Avera in 2007 as CFO and was promoted to CEO in 2008. During his tenure, he has expanded the hospital's capabilities and partnerships, added a rehabilitation and primary care clinic area, and partnered with the Indian Health Services and Yankton Sioux Tribe to establish an eight-chair dialysis center. In 2017, the American Hospital Association awarded Mr. Slaba its Rural Hospital Leadership Award for improving health delivery.

Michael Stewart. CEO of Saline Memorial Hospital (Benton, Ark.). Mr. Stewart has nearly 15 years of experience as a healthcare executive. Prior to joining Saline Memorial Hospital in December 2018, he served as CEO of Corsicana, Texas-based Navarro Regional Hospital since 2006. Before that, Mr. Stewart was COO at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale, Ark., and served in the Air Force for four years, leaving as captain in 2002.

Erik Thorsen. CEO of Columbia Memorial Hospital (Astoria, Ore.). Mr. Thorsen has been CEO of Columbia Memorial Hospital for the last nine years and previously served as the critical access hospital's CFO and COO. He oversaw a collaboration with Oregon Health Science University in Portland that established the CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative in fall 2017. Mr. Thorsen has been nationally recognized for his leadership: He was a runner-up for the American Hospital Association's Rural Leadership Award in 2017 and was named a community star by the National Rural Health Association the same year.

Russell Tippin. CEO of Permian Regional Medical Center (Andrews, Texas). Mr. Tippin helms the Permian Regional Medical Center, located about 300 miles outside El Paso, Texas. During his tenure, the medical center opened a fitness and wellness center, as well as a physician clinic in 2015. Mr. Tippin has also led the medical center's opening of a hospital as part of a nearly $60 million project, and updated MRI technology in 2016.

Terri Vieira. Senior vice president of Northern Light Health, president of Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital and Northern Light C.A. Dean Hospital (Pittsfield, Maine). Ms. Vieira, senior vice president of Northern Light Health, became president for Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital in 2013 and president of Northern Light C.A. Dean Hospital in 2017. Under her leadership, Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital earned recognition from the Leapfrog Group as a top rural hospital in 2018. Ms. Vieira serves on several boards, including the Maine Hospital Association board, and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Michael Wallace. President and CEO of Fort HealthCare (Fort Atkinson, Wis.). Mr. Wallace joined Fort HealthCare as president and CEO in June 2006. He is a winner of the Hospital Association Young Executive Achievement Award and served on the Wisconsin Hospital Association Board of Directors from 2011-17. Mr. Wallace is a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives, and is a two-time winner of the ACHE Regents Award-Early Career Healthcare Executive in Arizona and Iowa.

Louis Ward. CEO of Mayers Memorial Hospital District (Fall River Mills, Calif.). The Board for California Critical Access Hospital Network elected Mr. Ward, CEO of Mayers Memorial Hospital District, its chairman for 2019. Under his leadership, Mayers Memorial Hospital was awarded the Association of California Healthcare District's 2017 California Healthcare District of the Year award. In 2018, Mayers Memorial Hospital District won the Hospital Council of Northern California Innovation Challenge for a workforce development project titled "Planting Seeds … Growing Our Own Workforce."

Pete Weber, RN. President and CEO of AdventHealth Gordon (Calhoun, Ga.). Mr. Weber is the CEO of Gordon Hospital, which officially transitioned to AdventHealth in January. Mr. Weber previously served as CEO of Burleson, Texas-based Huguley Memorial Medical Center. He serves as chairman of the Murray Medical Center Board of Directors, Park Ridge Health Board of Directors and the Manchester Memorial Hospital Board of Directors.

Bernard Wheatley, DBA. CEO of Schneider Regional Medical Center (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands). Dr. Wheatley successfully navigated Schneider Regional Medical Center, the only hospital on the island of St. Thomas, through the detrimental structural and financial effects of two category 5 hurricanes that hit the hospital in September 2017. Before joining Schneider Regional Medical Center in 2013, he was vice president of operations at Athens (Ga.) Regional Medical Center. Dr. Wheatley, who grew up in St. Thomas, began his healthcare career as a radiology technologist.

Mike Wiltermood. President and CEO of Enloe Medical Center (Chico, Calif.). Mr. Wiltermood has nearly 30 years of experience as a hospital executive, and has been the CEO at Enloe Medical Center since 2009. He also oversaw the medical center's day-to-day operations as COO for two years, and prior to joining Enloe Medical Center, served as executive vice president/COO of Yuba City, Calif.,-based Fremont-Rideout Health Group. Mr. Wiltermood has held executive positions at health systems in Arizona, Idaho and Washington.

 

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