The CEOs who 'unretired'

A number of retired CEOs have sprung back on the scene in recent months, typically taking the reins at small community hospitals. 

They're returning to serve during turbulent times, and usually in an interim capacity. For some, leaving retirement to lead is a feat of passion. 

Take Melvin McNea, for example. The former CEO of North Platte, Neb.-based Great Plains Health retired in 2021, but returned to lead Scottsbluff, Neb.-based Regional West Health Services in December. He took over for the hospital's chief operating officer, Amanda Vick, RN, who had been serving in the role since CEO John Mentgen terminated his contract in November. 

"I'm passionate about ensuring rural communities have access to quality healthcare," Mr. McNea said in a news release. "That's why I am here."

Sometimes, a leader returns to their former workplace decades later. In November, Bill Overbey came back to Junction City, Kan.-based Geary Community Hospital — this time as interim CEO — to guide its transition to Topeka, Kan.-based Stormont Vail Health. Mr. Overbey retired in March as CEO of Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital in Topeka, but had served as Geary's CFO from 1991 to 2001. 

Under Mr. Overbey's leadership, Geary Community Hospital became Stormont Vail Health–Flint Hills in January. 

Similarly, Steve Gordon retired in April after a 45-year healthcare career, including 11 years as CEO of Brattleboro (Vt.) Memorial Hospital. He unretired to serve as Claremont, N.H.-based Valley Regional Hospital's interim CEO and is expected to lead until a planned affiliation with Lebanon, N.H.-based Dartmouth Health is finalized. 

These seasoned rebound CEOs could offer steady guidance in the industry at a time when many others are jumping ship — and their efforts may keep community hospitals afloat through troubled waters. 

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