60 rural hospital CEOs to know | 2017

Becker's Hospital Review has named the following CEOs to the 2017 edition of its list, "60 rural hospital CEOs to know."

 The 60 CEOs on this year's list possess extensive experience in healthcare management, demonstrating their commitment to offering high-quality, accessible care to rural populations. Under the CEOs' leadership, many of their institutions have earned recognition as top-performing rural hospitals in the nation.

For inclusion on this list, individuals must serve as CEOs of hospitals in "rural" areas, located outside major metropolitan areas. Becker's Hospital Review analyzed compilations by ranking and award agencies, such as The Leapfrog Group's listing of top rural hospitals and the National Rural Health Association's list of top rural community hospitals. The editorial team also accepted nominations for the list.

Note: Individuals cannot pay for inclusion on the list. This list is not a ranking. Names are presented in alphabetical order.


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Robert Allen, MBA. CEO of Park City (Utah) Medical Center. Mr. Allen serves in dual roles as CEO of Park City Medical Center as well as vice president of clinical and outreach services of Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare. [READ MORE]

Duke Anderson. President and CEO of Hillsdale (Mich.) Hospital. Mr. Anderson joined Hillsdale Hospital as COO in August 2006 and participated in a 10-month transition plan to become hospital CEO. [READ MORE]

Donald Babb. CEO and Executive Director of Citizens Memorial Healthcare (Bolivar, Mo.). Mr. Babb led CMH through its transformation into a fully integrated healthcare delivery system since he became founding CEO in 1981. [READ MORE]

Karen Barber, RN. CEO of Yoakum (Texas) Community Hospital. Karen Barber has served as CEO of Yoakum Community Hospital since 2006. Ms. Barber joined the hospital as a nurse in 1992. [READ MORE]

Rebecca Beck. President of Hawkins County Memorial Hospital (Rogersville, Tenn.) and Hancock County Hospital (Sneedville, Tenn.). Ms. Beck has headed the 50-bed Hawkins County Memorial Hospital and Hancock County Hospital, a critical access hospital, since January 2015. [READ MORE]

Syd Bersante, RN. Market President of St. Elizabeth Hospital (Enumclaw, Wash.). Ms. Bersante took over as market president for CHI Franciscan Health's Pierce County in Washington in 2015. [READ MORE]

Darrold Bertsch. CEO of Sakakawea Medical Center (Hazen, N.D.). Mr. Bertsch has more than 18 years of experience in healthcare management and a career spanning nearly four decades in the healthcare industry. [READ MORE]

Gary Black. President and CEO of Lenoir Memorial Hospital (Kinston, N.C.). Mr. Black joined Lenoir Memorial Hospital as CFO in 1986 and transitioned to CEO in 1992. [READ MORE]

Dan Brinkman, RN. Regional CEO of the East Hawaii Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (Honolulu). Mr. Brinkman joined Hilo Medical Center in 2007 as CNO, transitioning to regional COO in 2014. [READ MORE]

James B. Bross. CEO of St. Luke's Hospital (Columbus, N.C.). In July 2016, Mr. Bross became CEO of St. Luke's Hospital, a critical access hospital about 100 miles west of Charlotte, N.C. [READ MORE]

Katherine Bunting, PhD, RN. President and CEO of Fairfield (Ill.) Memorial Hospital. Prior to joining Fairfield Memorial Hospital in 1998, Dr. Bunting spent nearly two decades at Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney, Ill. [READ MORE]

Dennis Burke. President and CEO of Good Shepherd Health Care System (Hermiston, Ore.). Good Shepherd Health Care System includes a 25-bed critical access hospital, medical group and home health services. [READ MORE]

Charlie Button. President and CEO of Star Valley Medical Center (Afton, Wyo.). Star Valley Medical Center's board appointed Mr. Button CEO in 2012. [READ MORE]

Paul Chodkowski. CEO of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center (Frisco, Colo.). Mr. Chodkowski became CEO of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, a 35-bed hospital with about 200 employees, in 2005. [READ MORE]

Jason Cleckler, BSN. CEO of Delta (Colo.) County Memorial Hospital. Before taking on the CEO role in October 2011, Mr. Cleckler was Delta County Memorial Hospital's interim CEO as well as chief clinical officer. [READ MORE]

John Dalton. President and CEO of Inland Hospital (Waterville, Maine). John Dalton became CEO of Inland Hospital, a 48-bed community hospital serving central Maine, in 2006. [READ MORE]

Thomas Dee. President and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (Bennington). Mr. Dee took over as CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, which includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, in 2009. [READ MORE]

Kris Doody, RN. CEO of Cary Medical Center (Caribou, Maine). Ms. Doody joined CMC as a certified nurse's aid at age 15. [READ MORE]

Desiree Einsweiler. CEO of Palo Alto County Health System (Emmetsburg, Iowa). Ms. Einsweiler became CEO of Palo Alto County Health System, a 25-bed critical access hospital, in 2012. [READ MORE]

Sean Fadale. President and CEO of Community Memorial Hospital (Hamilton, N.Y.). Community Memorial Hospital's board of trustees appointed Sean Fadale CEO in August 2012. [READ MORE]

Warren Forgey. President and CEO of Schneck Medical Center (Seymour, Ind.). Mr. Forgey, a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, became president and CEO of SMC in April 2015. [READ MORE]

Jill Fuller. President and CEO of Prairie Lakes Healthcare System (Watertown, S.D.). Ms. Fuller took the helm of Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in November 2009, before which she served as chief nursing officer for nine years. [READ MORE]

Ed Harding. President and CEO of Bay Area Medical Center (Marinette, Wis.). Mr. Harding has served as president and CEO of Bay Area Medical Center since December 2010. [READ MORE]

Jason Hawkins, MBA. President and CEO of J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital (Huntingdon, Pa.) and Fulton County Medical Center (McConnellsburg, Pa.). Mr. Hawkins took charge of J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, sitting just under 200 miles outside of Philadelphia, and Fulton County Medical Center, located about 175 miles outside Philadelphia, when the two hospitals combined leadership teams in September 2015. [READ MORE]

John Henderson, MBA. President and CEO of Childress (Texas) Regional Medical Center. Mr. Henderson has been at the helm of Childress Regional Medical Center since 2001. The hospital is about 250 miles northwest of Dallas. [READ MORE]

Leonard Hernandez. CEO of Coffey Health System (Burlington, Kan.). Mr. Hernandez became CEO of Coffey Health System, a 36-bed hospital with nine staff physicians and 13 outpatient specialty physicians, in September 2015. [READ MORE]

John Hill, MBA. President and CEO of Bozeman (Mont.) Health Deaconess Hospital. When he took over as president and CEO of the 86-bed, Level III trauma center in August 2016, Mr. Hill had more than two decades of healthcare executive experience. [READ MORE]

Ned Hill. President and CEO of Northern Hospital of Surry County (Mount Airy, N.C.). Mr. Hill took over as president and CEO of Northern Hospital of Surry County in October 2014. The hospital sits about 100 miles north of Charlotte, N.C. [READ MORE]

David Keith. President and CEO of McAlester (Okla.) Regional Health Center. Mr. Keith joined McAlester Regional Medical Center, located about 130 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, in 2011. [READ MORE]

David Kilarski. CEO of Sandhills Regional Medical Center (Hamlet, N.C.). Mr. Kilarski joined Sandhills Regional Medical Center, about 90 miles from Charlotte, N.C., as CEO in 2016 and immediately got to work. [READ MORE]

Steve Massey. President and CEO of Westfields Hospitals & Clinic (New Richmond, Wis.). Westfields Hospital & Clinic is a critical access hospital in a city of roughly 8,700 residents nearly 50 miles northeast of Minneapolis. [READ MORE]

Frank May. CEO of Yampa Valley Medical Center (Steamboat Springs, Colo.). Mr. May has been at the helm of the nonprofit, 39-bed, acute care hospital since April 2012. He previously served as Yampa Valley's COO, CFO and compliance officer. [READ MORE]

Kim Miller, MBA. President and CEO of Beaver Dam (Wis.) Community Hospitals, Inc. Ms. Miller has more than 18 years of CEO experience. She became president and CEO of Beaver Dam Community Hospitals in 2006. [READ MORE]

Patrick O'Donnell. President and CEO of Summit Health (Chambersburg, Pa.). Mr. O'Donnell became CEO of Summit Health, about 160 miles from Pittsburgh, in 2013. [READ MORE]

Vince Oliver. CEO of Island Hospital (Anacortes, Wash.). Mr. Oliver received the American Hospital Association's Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Award in 2015 in recognition of his work as an innovative rural hospital leader. [READ MORE]

Anne Platt. CEO of Sutter Amador Hospital (Jackson, Calif.). Although she studied art history in school, Ms. Platt eventually found her way to finance and then healthcare. She became CEO of Sutter Amador Hospital in 2005. [READ MORE]

Amy Pollard, BSN, RN. President and CEO of Noyes Health (Dansville, N.Y.). Ms. Pollard joined Noyes Health, a nonprofit system with a 67-bed hospital roughly 300 miles northwest of New York City, as president and CEO in 2011. [READ MORE]

Jayne Pope, MBA, RN. CEO of Hill Country Memorial Hospital (Fredericksburg, Texas). Ms. Pope has led Hill Country Memorial Hospital, which is about 100 miles west of Austin, since 2013. [READ MORE]

MaryEllen Pratt. CEO of St. James Parish Hospital (Lutcher, La.). St. James Parish Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital about 45 miles south of Baton Rouge, La., and 45 miles northwest of New Orleans. [READ MORE]

Denise Ray, BSN, RN, MBA. CEO of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital (Jasper, Ga.). Ms. Ray's medical training and 28-year career in healthcare made her well qualified to lead Mountainside. [READ MORE]

Steven Rose, RN. President and CEO of Nanticoke Health Services (Seaford, Del.). Nanticoke Health Services is approximately 40 miles from Dover, Del. [READ MORE]

Ed Rush. President and CEO of Iredell Health System (Statesville, N.C.). After serving as CFO and then COO at Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory, N.C., Mr. Rush took the helm at Iredell Health System in October 2004. [READ MORE]

Maria Ryan, PhD, MSN. CEO of Cottage Hospital (Woodsville, N.H.). A board-certified family nurse practitioner, Dr. Ryan has been Cottage Hospital's CEO since November 2006. [READ MORE]

Robert Schmitt, CPA, MBA. CEO of Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services (Gibson City, Ill.). Mr. Schmitt joined GAHHS as CFO in 2002 and was promoted to CEO in 2007. He has more than 25 years of healthcare leadership experience. [READ MORE]

Rachelle H. Schultz. President and CEO of Winona (Minn.) Health. Ms. Schultz has been in healthcare management for more than two decades. In her current role, she heads a 99-bed acute care hospital, clinics and a 134-bed nursing home, among other services. [READ MORE]

Emmett C. Schuster. President and CEO of Gibson General Hospital (Princeton, Ind.). Mr. Gibson has 15 years of healthcare leadership experience. [READ MORE]

Dennis Shelby. CEO of Wilson Medical Center (Neodesha, Kan.). Mr. Shelby has led Wilson Medical Center, a hospital about 150 miles southwest of Kansas City, Mo., since July 2011. [READ MORE]

Michael Stewart, MBA. CEO of Navarro Regional Hospital (Corsicana, Texas). Mr. Stewart became CEO of the 162-bed acute care hospital, located 60 miles outside of Dallas, in April 2014. [READ MORE]

Erik Thorsen, MBA. CEO of Columbia Memorial Hospital (Astoria, Ore.). After serving as the hospital's CFO and then COO, Mr. Thorsen took over as CEO in 2010. [READ MORE]

Russell Tippin. CEO of Permian Regional Medical Center (Andrews, Texas). Mr. Tippin serves as CEO of Permian Regional Medical Center, approximately 300 miles northwest of El Paso. [READ MORE]

Joanne Urbanski, MSN, BSN. President and CEO of South Haven (Mich.) Health System. Ms. Urbanski has been president and CEO of South Haven Health for the past decade, before which she was COO of the hospital. [READ MORE]

Terri Vieira. President and CEO of Sebasticook Valley Health (Pittsfield, Maine). After serving as acting CEO since April 2013, Ms. Vieira became CEO of Sebasticook Valley Health in July 2013. [READ MORE]

Louis Ward. CEO of Mayers Memorial Hospital District (Fall River Mills, Calif.). Mr. Ward became CEO of Mayers Memorial in November 2015 after spending time as the interim CEO, COO and director of support services. [READ MORE]

Pete Weber, RN. President and CEO of Gordon Hospital (Calhoun, Ga.). Mr. Weber began his time at Gordon Hospital in May 2009 after leaving his post as president and CEO of Texas Health Huguley in Burleson. [READ MORE]

Randy Wertz. CEO of Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare (Clinton, Mo.). Mr. Wertz will retire in July 2017 after spending 28 years at the helm of Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare. [READ MORE]

Warren West, MBA. CEO of Littleton (N.H.) Regional Healthcare. Mr. West has more than 30 years of healthcare and management experience, and he began his tenure as CEO of a 25-bed, critical access hospital in the White Mountains in 2007. [READ MORE]

Bernard Wheatley, DBA. CEO of Schneider Regional Medical Center (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands). Since April 2013, Mr. Wheatley has been CEO of the umbrella entity for three facilities: Roy Lester Schneider Hospital in St. Thomas; Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center in St. John; and Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute in St. Thomas. [READ MORE]

Mike Wiltermood. CEO of Enloe Medical Center (Chico, Calif.). Mr. Wiltermood has more than 25 years of experience in hospital leadership. [READ MORE]

Gerald Worrick. President and CEO of Ministry Door County Medical Center (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.). Mr. Worrick has overseen Ministry Door County Medical Center for more than 28 years. [READ MORE]

Michael Zimmerman, MBA. CEO of Sierra Vista Hospital (Truth or Consequences, N.M.). Mr. Zimmerman has led Sierra Vista Hospital since April 2014. [READ MORE]

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