60 rural hospital CEOs to know | 2020

Becker's Healthcare is pleased to recognize 60 rural hospital CEOs to know in 2020.

Becker's 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, IBM Watson Health and The Leapfrog Group as top institutions. Others sit on local chamber of commerce boards and serve state hospital associations. Almost all have presided over expansion and strategic change within their organizations.

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.

C. Todd Ahrens. President and CEO of Hannibal (Mo.) Regional Healthcare System. Mr. Ahrens joined Hannibal Regional Healthcare System as General Counsel in 2007. Prior to joining the Hannibal Regional team full time, Mr. Ahrens became a board member of the health system in 2001 and was board chairman in 2005. In 2019, Mr. Ahrens led the system through the latest phase of a $61 million expansion project, unveiling new surgery suites, patient rooms and an office building. The full expansion is slated for completion in the summer of 2020.

Dale Alward. CEO of Sovah Health - Martinsville (Galax, Va.). Mr. Alward joined Sovah Health – Martinsville as CEO in June 2019, after serving as CEO of the neighboring Twin County Regional Healthcare in Galax. He served for more than two decades in the U.S. Air Force Medical Service in hospital administration, and now has more than a decade of private sector leadership experience at hospitals in Florida, Indiana and Virginia.

Duke Anderson. President and CEO of Hillsdale (Mich.) Hospital. Mr. Anderson celebrates 13 years of leadership as CEO of Hillsdale Hospital this year, but his career as a public servant spans more than four decades, including several years as the hospital's COO. Mr. Anderson speaks nationally about the challenges facing rural hospitals. This is the sixth time Mr. Anderson has been named to the Becker's Hospital Review list of Rural Hospital CEOs to Know. He plans to retire on May 31, 2020.

Karen Barber, RN. CEO of Yoakum (Texas) Community Hospital. Ms. Barber was named CEO of Yoakum Community Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital, in 2006, 14 years after starting her career there as a nurse. She was recognized with the Texas Hospital Association's Pioneer Award for her excellence in rural hospital management in 2010. More recently, Ms. Barber has led the hospital through a major expansion, adding physical therapy, geriatric counseling and a family practice clinic in 2014, and last year, adding a wound healing and hyperbaric center.

Bert Beard. CEO of Maria Parham Medical Center (Henderson, N.C.). Mr. Beard was named CEO of the 102-bed Maria Parham Medical Center in August 2016. Among other accomplishments under Mr. Beard's leadership, Maria Parham Medical Center acquired the shuttered Franklin Medical Center building in Louisburg, N.C., and converted it to an emergency department and geriatric behavioral health facility, which opened in October 2018. Mr. Beard joined Maria Parham Medical Center from Wilson (N.C.) Medical Center, where he served as COO. At Wilson Medical Center, Mr. Beard launched an $81 million renovation project and expanded the interventional cardiology program.

Kyle Bennett. President and CEO of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center (Jasper, Ind.). Mr. Bennett has been president and CEO of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center for nearly five years, and previously served as the facility's COO for two years and CFO for 15 years. Around the hospital, he is known for writing weekly reflections for hospital employees. His background is in finance — he is a certified public accountant and fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Syd Bersante. President of CHI Franciscan, Pierce Region (Tacoma, Wash.). As market president of CHI Franciscan's Pierce County Region, Ms. Bersante oversees three hospitals: St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood, Wash., and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw, Wash., a critical access hospital. Ms. Bersante's leadership has helped cement these three hospitals as pillars of their communities, providing critical services like the Pacific Northwest's only ALS clinic and Washington's only hospital-based outpatient birth center. This past year, Ms. Bersante launched an effort to draw more surgeons to the Tacoma area with the St. Joseph Medical Center general surgery residency program.

Darrold Bertsch. CEO of Sakakawea Medical Center (Hazen, N.D.). Mr. Bertsch has led Sakakawea Medical Center, a 13-bed critical access hospital and a 34-bed licensed basic care facility, since 2009. Over the past 11 years, Mr. Bertsch and his team have led the construction of a new $30.5 million facility, and more recently, an Epic EHR implementation. Since 2011, Mr. Bertsch has also been the CEO of Coal Country Community Health Center, a federally qualified health center in Beulah, N.D.

Donny Booth. CEO of Permian Regional Medical Center (Andrews, Texas). Mr. Booth was named interim CEO of Permian Regional Medical Center in August 2019, after working closely alongside the hospital's former longtime CEO Russell Tippin. In October 2019, the Permian Regional Medical Center board officially named Mr. Booth to the role. He previously was the hospital's CNO.

Dan Brinkman, RN. Regional CEO of the East Hawaii Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (Honolulu). Mr. Brinkman leads the East Hawaii Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp., overseeing three facilities. The largest is Hilo (Hawaii) Medical Center, a 157-bed facility and the second-largest emergency room in the state by patient volume. As regional CEO, Mr. Brinkman also leads Hale Ho'ola Hamakua, a 77-bed critical access hospital Honokaa, Hawaii, and Ka'u Hospital, a 21-bed critical access hospital in Pahala, Hawaii. Mr. Brinkman spent seven years as CNO of Hilo Medical Center before he became CEO of the region in 2014. Prior to his work in Hawaii, Mr. Brinkman served as assistant administrator of interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

David Bunch. President and Chief Administrative Officer of Cumberland Medical Center (Crossville, Tenn.). Mr. Bunch has more than 15 years of experience as a hospital CEO, spending time as the top executive at Community Health System's Heritage Medical Center in Middle Tennessee before joining Covenant Health's Cumberland Medical Center as president and chief administrative officer. At Cumberland, he oversees a team of more than 600 employees and 100 physicians who provide primary and specialty care as well as wellness services.

Katherine Bunting, PhD, MSN, RN. President and CEO of Fairfield (Ill.) Memorial Hospital. Dr. Bunting has led the Fairfield Memorial Hospital team as CEO since 1998. The 25-bed Fairfield Memorial Hospital includes more than 250 employees and more than 90 physicians and other healthcare providers. Dr. Bunting is known for her leadership throughout the state, serving on the Illinois Hospital Association's Small and Rural Hospital Steering Committee as a member and chairwoman, a past president of IHA's Region 5, and member of the IHA board of trustees. Prior to joining Fairfield Memorial, she spent 19 years at Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney, Ill.

Christina Campos. Administrator of Guadalupe County Hospital (Santa Rosa, N.M.). Ms. Campos serves as the administrator of Guadalupe County Hospital, a 10-bed rural hospital in New Mexico. Ms. Campos began her professional career at Guadalupe County Hospital as CFO, a role that she held from 1993 to 1996. After taking a few years off to help her husband start a business, she returned as administrator in 2004. During her tenure as administrator, Ms. Campos led the financing, design and construction of a replacement facility for the hospital. In 2019, under her leadership, Guadalupe County Hospital ranked among the top 20 rural community hospitals in the U.S. by the National Rural Health Association.

Randy Cason. President of Ascension Via Christi Hospital (Pittsburg, Kan.). Mr. Cason serves as the president of Ascension Via Christi Hospital, a role he assumed in 2010. Throughout his tenure Mr. Cason has led the hospital, which has 550 employees and a 40,000-square-foot surgery center, through a rebranding effort and a major remodel. He has also served as president and CEO of St. Vincent Medical Center North in Sherwood, Ark., and Southwest Regional Medical Center in Waynesburg, Pa.

Kenneth Joseph Cochran, DSc, RN. President and CEO of Opelousas (La.) General Health System. Dr. Cochran serves as the president and CEO of Opelousas General, a system with two campuses and more than 1,100 employees. Dr. Cochran became Opelousas General's CEO in 2015 and has since helped the system grow revenues by more than 30 percent and EBITA margins by 50 percent. He also oversaw a $68 million expansion that included a five-story parking garage and six-story medical complex with an emergency department, coronary intensive care unit and medical imaging center. Prior to joining Opelousas General, Dr. Cochran served as president and CEO of River Valley Health Partners in East Liverpool, Ohio.

David Conejo. CEO of Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (Gallup, N.M.). Mr. Conejo serves as CEO of Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services, which consists of a 60-bed acute care hospital, two outpatient clinics, home health, hospice and behavioral health services. Under Mr. Conejo's leadership, the hospital became the first hospital in New Mexico honored with Healthgrades' Patient Safety Excellence Award for five consecutive years. In addition to his CEO role, which he assumed in 2014, Mr. Conejo serves as president of New Mexico Rural Hospital Network and as a board member of the New Mexico Hospital Association.

Robert Copple. President of Ascension Via Christi Hospital (Manhattan, Kan.). Mr. Copple, who is a licensed engineer, serves as president of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan, Kan., an acute care facility licensed to operate 150 beds on two hospital campuses. In his role, which he assumed in 2016, Mr. Copple oversees the hospital's 150 physicians, 500 employees and 300 volunteers. Prior to joining Ascension, Mr. Copple served as president and CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives' Memorial Community Hospital & Health System in Blair, Neb.

John Dalton. President of Northern Light Inland Hospital (Waterville, Maine). Mr. Dalton serves as president of Northern Light Inland Hospital, a 48-bed community hospital with 14 primary and specialty care physician offices in Maine. Mr. Dalton became president of the hospital in 2006. During his tenure, Mr. Dalton led the hospital through a rebrand that better reflects the name of its parent organization, Northern Light Health in Brewer, Maine. In addition to his president role, Mr. Dalton serves as senior vice president of Northern Light Health.

Thomas Dee. President and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (Bennington). Mr. Dee serves as president and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, which is comprised of a 99-bed community hospital, a 150-bed nursing facility, a full-service cancer center and three primary care campuses. Throughout his time as CEO, Mr. Dee has expanded the health system's partnership with Lebanon, N.H.-based Dartmouth-Hitchcock, increased access to primary care and maintained strong finances. Before joining the Vermont health system as CEO in 2009, Mr. Dee worked for the three-hospital HealthAlliance in Kingston, N.Y., and was CEO of the 222-bed Benedictine Hospital in Kingston.

Kris Doody, RN. CEO of Cary Medical Center (Caribou, Maine). Ms. Doody is the CEO of Cary Medical Center, a 65-bed acute care hospital with about 540 employees. Ms. Doody began her career at Cary Medical Center as a certified nursing aide at the age of 15, and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a manager of surgical services, then COO and finally CEO in 1999. She has also served as the chair of the Maine Hospital Association Board of Directors and the chair of the Maine Community College System Board of Trustees.

Kelly Driscoll, RN. President and CEO of Faith Regional Health Services (Norfolk, Neb.). Ms. Driscoll serves as president and CEO of Faith Regional Health Services, which comprises a 129-bed acute care facility, physician offices and a physician group. She is also responsible for the organization's 1,200 employees. Before being named CEO of Faith Regional in 2018, Ms. Driscoll served as the hospital's COO and vice president of patient care services. Before joining Faith Regional, she held several nursing management positions with UnityPoint Health in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Sean Fadale. President and CEO of Community Memorial Hospital (Hamilton, N.Y.). Mr. Fadale, a licensed physical therapist, serves as president and CEO of Community Memorial Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital with nearly 400 employees who care for a population of 45,000 people. Before joining Community Memorial Hospital as CEO in 2012, Mr. Fadale served as vice president of operations at the Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville, N.Y., and in management roles at Urbana, Ill.-based Carle Foundation Hospital and Warren (Pa.) General Hospital.

Doug Faus. CEO of Ivinson Memorial Hospital (Laramie, Wyo.). Mr. Faus serves as CEO of Ivinson Memorial Hospital, a 99-bed facility affiliated with Aurora, Colo.-based UCHealth. Under his leadership, the hospital was named one of the top 20 rural community hospitals in the U.S. in 2019 by the National Rural Health Association and was recognized as one of the winners of the 2019 Wyoming Hos¬pi¬tal Qual¬i¬ty Awards, giv¬en by Moun¬tain-Pacif¬ic Qual¬i¬ty Health, a quality improvement company. Mr. Faus is also responsible for overseeing the hospital's Epic EHR implementation, which is set to go live this year.

Warren Forgey. President and CEO of Schneck Medical Center (Seymour, Ind.). Mr. Forgey serves as president and CEO of Schneck Medical Center, as well as president of two fully owned subsidiaries of the hospital: Health Development Corp. and Coordinated Health. In his role as CEO of the medical center, Mr. Forgey is responsible for the 114-bed facility and its 1,000 employees, 125 volunteers and nearly 200 physicians. Under his leadership, Schneck Medical Center was named one of the top 20 rural community hospitals by the National Rural Health Association in 2019. Before becoming Schneck's CEO in 2015, Mr. Forgey served as the hospital's assistant controller, executive vice president of fiscal services and business development, CFO, and chief administrative and operations officer.

Perry Gay. President and CEO of Logansport (Ind.) Memorial Hospital. Mr. Gay took the reins of Logansport Memorial Hospital in 2015. Over the course of his tenure, the hospital has earned numerous accolades, including designation as a top 20 rural community hospital from the National Rural Health Association in 2019 and designation as a top 100 rural and community hospital from iVantage and the Chartis Center for Rural Health in 2019.

Joe Gilene. Interim Chief Administrative Officer of Marshfield Medical Center Beaver Dam (Wis.). Before stepping into his interim leadership role at Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic Health System's Beaver Dam hospital in 2019, Mr. Gilene held executive leadership roles at several prominent hospitals and health systems, including Cincinnati Children's Hospital and New Brunswick, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Mr. Gilene is a fellow of both the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Vallerie Gleason, RN. President and CEO of Newton (Kan.) Medical Center. Ms. Gleason joined Newton Medical Center in 2004 as the vice president of physician services. She stepped into the top executive role in 2016 after serving as the hospital's chief clinical integration officer. Under her leadership, the 103-bed nonprofit hospital has earned several distinctions, including recognition as a 2019 top 100 rural and community hospital from iVantage and the Chartis Center for Rural Health. Ms. Gleason is a member of the Kansas Hospital Association and is a board-certified nurse executive.

Rod Harkleroad, RN. CEO of Haywood Regional Medical Center (Clyde, N.C.). Mr. Harkleroad is an experienced healthcare administrator with a nursing background. He took the reins of Haywood Regional Medical Center in 2016. In his role as top leader of the 154-bed hospital, Mr. Harkleroad guides a staff of more than 830 employees. Haywood Regional is one of the most prominent institutions in the community. In 2018, the hospital delivered an economic benefit of more than $6 million in the form of charity care, taxes and community programs.

Steve Heatherly. CEO of Harris Regional Hospital (Sylva, N.C.). Mr. Heatherly has been on the Harris Regional Hospital leadership team since 2001, serving in various finance and strategy positions, including CFO. In 2012, he took the reins as CEO. In 2018, Harris Regional Hospital delivered an economic boon of more than $6.5 million to its community in the form of charity care, taxes and various benefit programs.

Leonard Hernandez. CEO of Coffey Health System (Burlington, Kan.). As CEO of Coffey Health System, Mr. Hernandez oversees operations for a 25-bed critical access hospital that traces its community roots back more than six decades. Mr. Hernandez has more than 25 years of experience as a healthcare CEO. In 2018, he was named to the board of directors of the American Hospital Association's Institute for Diversity and Health Equity.

John Hill. President and CEO of Bozeman (Mont.) Health. Mr. Hill became president and CEO of Bozeman Health in August 2016. The health system comprises nearly 2,000 employees and is the largest private employer in Gallatin County. Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, the health system's 86-bed flagship facility, earned designation as a 2019 top 20 rural community hospital from the National Rural Health Association. In 2017, the hospital delivered a total community benefit of $26 million in the form of subsidized health services, financial assistance and community health improvement services.

Stephanie Hilton-Siebert. President and CEO of Marion (Ind.) General Hospital. Under Ms. Hilton-Siebert's leadership, Marion General Hospital has earned numerous awards and accreditations. In 2019 alone, the hospital was named a top 20 rural community hospital by the National Rural Health Association and a top 100 rural and community hospital by The Chartis Group and iVantage. Ms. Hilton-Siebert first came to MGH in 2015 as the hospital's chief administrative officer before stepping into the organization's top leadership spot in 2016.

Mark Holyoak. CEO of Wilson Medical Center (Neodesha, Kan.). Mr. Holyoak took the reins of 294-bed Wilson Medical Center in September 2018. He previously served as the top leader for Price, Utah-based Castleview Hospital, a role he assumed in 2011. Mr. Holyoak currently oversees nearly 1,000 employees at a hospital in the fourth and final phase of a four-year renovation project. The project began in 2016 and includes the creation of a new 24-bed behavioral health unit, the expansion of rehabilitation services and upgrades to the intensive care unit.

David Keith. President and CEO of McAlester (Okla.) Regional Health Center. Mr. Keith has more than 30 years of healthcare administrator experience. His tenure as chief executive at the 171-bed McAlester Regional began in 2011. Since that time, he's overseen an $11.8 million investment in a new emergency center, added family medicine and internal medicine residency programs, recruited specialists, and added new outpatient service lines and inpatient tertiary services.

Thomas Koobatian, MD. Executive Director and Chief of Staff at New Milford (Conn.) Hospital. Dr. Koobatian has served as New Milford Hospital's chief of staff since 2012, adding the role of executive director to his responsibilities in 2014. As a certified emergency medicine physician, Dr. Koobatian previously served as the hospital's director of emergency medicine for 18 years. In addition to his administrative and clinical duties, Dr. Koobatian holds leadership roles on the Connecticut Hospital Association's government relations committee and the New Milford Emergency Management Committee and Community Care Team, a group that provides case management services for the homeless and housing-insecure individuals.

Paul Korth. CEO of Cookeville (Tenn.) Regional Medical Center. Mr. Korth brings 30 years of healthcare leadership experience to his role as CEO. Before stepping into the top leadership spot in 2013, Mr. Korth served as the hospital's CFO for nearly 14 years. As chief executive, Mr. Korth oversees a staff of more than 2,000 employees, which includes more than 200 physicians representing more than 40 medical and surgical specialties.

Steve Massey. President and CEO of Westfields Hospital & Clinic (New Richmond, Wis.). Mr. Massey joined Westfields in 2011 as president and CEO, leading the hospital through several initiatives, including the merger of Westfields Hospital and New Richmond Clinic. Before joining Westfields, Mr. Massey was the CFO of Osceola (Wis.) Medical Center and held leadership positions at Allina Health and Fairview Health Services, both based in Minneapolis.

Brian Moore. President and CEO of Bay Area Hospital (Marinette, Wis.). Mr. Moore has over 17 years of experience leading hospitals, including constructing several hospital campuses for an underserved community in Colorado. Before joining Bay Area Hospital, Mr. Moore served as CEO for St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo, Colo.

Patrick O'Donnell. President and CEO of Summit Health; Executive Vice President of WellSpan Health (York, Pa.). Mr. O'Donnell has been with Summit Health — which merged with WellSpan Health in 2018 — for nearly 35 years, including serving as senior vice president and COO. Throughout his career, Mr. O'Donnell has focused on advancing healthcare in his community and has spent time on the governance committee for the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania. He plans to retire from the heath system at the end of June 2020.

Amy Pollard, RN. President and CEO of Noyes Health (Dansville, N.Y.). Ms. Pollard joined Noyes in 2007 as vice president of patient care. She guided the hospital though its affiliation with the University of Rochester and has opened an emergency department and cancer center for the hospital. In 2017, she was named a New York State Senate woman of distinction.

Jayne Pope, RN. CEO of Hill Country Memorial Health System (Fredericksburg, Texas). Before she was selected as CEO of Hill Country Memorial Health System, Ms. Pope was its chief nursing officer. As CEO, Ms. Pope has increased staff participation in the hospital's key initiatives, leading to the health system to one of the highest value-based purchasing performance rankings in the country.

Mary Ellen Pratt. CEO of St. James Parish Hospital (Lutcher, La.). Ms. Pratt has served as the CEO of St. James Parish Hospital since 2007. Before joining the hospital, she was an assistant administrator for Thibodaux (La.) Regional Medical Center and administrator for University Hospital and Clinics-Holmes County in Jackson, Miss. She is a fellow of the National Rural Health Association and American College of Healthcare Executives.

Norman Price. CEO of Southwest Health System (McComb, Miss.). Mr. Price has served as the CEO of Southwest Health System since 1985. Under his leadership, the health system has opened a cancer institute, a women's center, a digestive disease center, hospice and ambulatory surgery center, which is named in Mr. Price's honor. Mr. Price plans to retire in February 2020.

Denise Ray, BSN, RN. CEO of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital (Jasper, Ga.) and Chief Nurse Executive of Piedmont Healthcare (Atlanta). Ms. Ray has served as the hospital's CEO since 2012, leading more than 200 physicians and 6,600 nurses. She also serves on the leadership team of Piedmont Healthcare, a nonprofit health system with more than 600 locations, as chief nursing executive. She has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry, previously serving as the Piedmont Atlanta Hospital's senior vice president and COO.

Keith Richardson. President and CEO of East Liverpool (Ohio) City Hospital. Mr. Richardson joined East Liverpool City Hospital as CEO in 2016 after spending 35 years in the healthcare industry, including time as CEO of a small Tennessee-based hospital. During his tenure, the hospital has stayed involved in the community and earned the 2019 Top Rural Hospitals award from The Leapfrog Group. The year before, East Liverpool also earned recognition among the top 100 hospitals in the nation from IBM Watson Health.

Maria Ryan, PhD. CEO of Cottage Hospital (Woodsville, N.H.). Dr. Ryan is the chief executive of Cottage Hospital, a 35-bed critical access hospital. Dr. Ryan has grown the organization and developed a referral in center for other hospitals that don't have specialty services. Cottage Hospital is a designated trauma center, has a center of orthopedic excellence, and a distinct part senior adult acute psychiatric unit. Dr. Ryan has been awarded the coveted Louis Gorin award from the National Rural Health Association, outstanding woman business leader, and named one of the most influential business leaders in New Hampshire. Under her leadership, Cottage Hospital has won quality awards from my iVantage and the NRHA, been recognized for being at the platinum level for organ donation, and named business of the year.

Dave Shannon. CEO of Three Rivers (Mich.) Health. Mr. Shannon has served as CEO of Three Rivers since January 2018. He has over 26 years of experience leading hospitals in Maine and Pennsylvania, including Jersey Shore (Pa.) Hospital, where he helped form a partnership with Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger. As CEO, his main focus is building partnerships in the community with physicians, employers and volunteers.

Robert Schmitt. CEO of Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services (Gibson City, Ill.). Mr. Schmitt has served as the CEO of Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services since 2007. He has over 25 years of healthcare leadership experience and is a fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives. Mr. Schmitt also serves on the board of the Illinois Hospital Association.

Rachelle H. Schultz, EdD. President and CEO of Winona (Minn.) Health. With more than 25 years of experience, Dr. Schultz oversees Winona Health's 99-bed hospital, physician clinics, 125-bed nursing home, pharmacies and additional services as president and CEO. Prior to taking the helm at Winona Health, she held director roles with Phoenix-based Banner Health System and Lutheran Health Systems from 1990 to 2002. Dr. Schultz's other leadership roles include board chair of the Minnesota Rural ACO and chair of the American Hospital Association's Governing Council for Small and Rural hospitals in 2017.

Matt Sells. CEO of Shenandoah (Iowa) Medical Center. In 2017, Matt Sells was elected CEO of Shenandoah Medical Center by the hospital's board of directors. Before taking on the CEO role, Mr. Sells was mostly in the financial world, having served as CFO of the medical center since 2013. Before that, he was CFO of Ainsworth, Neb.-based Brown County Hospital and an accountant for KPMG. In 2019, Mr. Sells was honored with the Iowa Hospital Association's Young Executive Achievement Award, which recognizes up-and-coming healthcare executives under 40.

Bryan Slaba. Administrator and CEO of Wagner Community Memorial Hospital-Avera (Sioux Falls, S.D.). Since 2008, Bryan Slaba has served as the CEO and administrator for Wagner Community Memorial Hospital, a 20-bed critical access hospital that is part of Sioux Falls-based Avera Health. Under his leadership, the hospital has become one of the most technologically advanced critical access hospitals in the region and expanded its rehabilitation and primary care capabilities. In 2017, the American Hospital Association awarded Mr. Slaba its Rural Hospital Leadership Award, which recognizes leaders of small and rural hospitals who improve healthcare delivery in their communities.

Michael Stewart. CEO of Saline Memorial Hospital (Benton, Ark.). Mr. Stewart came into his role at Saline Memorial Hospital in 2018 with nearly 15 years of healthcare experience. He is guiding the hospital toward gains in quality and achieving as many accreditations as it can.
Prior to coming to Saline Memorial Hospital, Mr. Stewart was the CEO of Navarro Regional Hospital in Corsicana, Texas, the COO and administrator for Springdale, Ark.-based Northwest Health System and a captain in the U.S. Air Force.

Patrick Swindle. CEO of UT Health Pittsburg and Quitman (Tyler, Texas). As the CEO of UT Health Pittsburg and UT Health Quitman, Mr. Swindle oversees 75 providers who staff the two 25-bed critical access hospitals, two level 4 trauma centers, five rural health clinics and other services. He is credited with growing and diversifying the hospitals' revenue streams — which approached $55 million in 2018 — by adding specialties such as urology, orthopedics and general surgery. Under Mr. Swindle's leadership, the hospitals obtained five-star ratings on their CMS Hospital Compare scores.

Erik Thorsen. CEO of Columbia Memorial Hospital (Astoria, Ore.). Mr. Thorsen became CEO of Columbia Memorial Hospital in 2010 but has been part of its leadership team since 2003 when he served as COO and CFO. With Mr. Thorsen at the helm, the hospital has significantly expanded its hospital services and increased its staff. The hospital has also become a designated Planetree hospital in recognition of its excellence in person-centered care.

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 became president of Northern Light Health Sebasticook Valley Hospital in 2013 and the president of Northern Light C.A. Dean Hospital in 2017. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on many boards, including the Maine Hospital Association's. Under her leadership, Northern Light C.A. Dean Hospital received the 2019 Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award for achieving the 95th percentile or above for performance in patient experience.

Michael Wallace. President and CEO of Fort HealthCare (Fort Atkinson, Wis.). Fort HealthCare appointed Mr. Wallace as president and CEO in 2006. His improvement strategies in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, helped it move from the 33rd spot out of 72 counties to the ninth in a 2017 health ranking from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Initiative. Mr. Wallace was twice honored by the American College of Healthcare Executives with its Regents Award-Early Career Healthcare Executive in Arizona and Iowa and is a past winner of the Iowa Hospital Association's Young Executive Achievement Award.

Louis Ward. CEO of Mayers Memorial Hospital District (Fall River Mills, Calif.). Mr. Ward leads Mayers Memorial Hospital District. The critical access hospital is about 200 miles north of Sacramento, Calif. Under his leadership, the hospital became one of only 17 healthcare districts in California to be classified as a certified healthcare district in 2017.

Pete Weber, RN. President and CEO of AdventHealth Gordon (Calhoun, Ga.). In May 2009, Mr. Weber became CEO of AdventHealth Gordon and oversaw the 69-bed hospital's official change to the AdventHealth brand in 2019. Before joining AdventHealth Gordon, he was president and CEO of another AdventHealth facility, Texas Health Huguley in Burleson, Texas, for 11 years. He began his healthcare career as an orderly at Texas Health Huguley, eventually becoming an RN, director of special services, vice president and chief clinical officer before reaching the CEO role.

Mike Wiltermood. President and CEO of Enloe Medical Center (Chico, Calif.). Mr. Wiltermood took on the president and CEO role at Enloe Medical center in July 2009. He has nearly 30 years of experience in hospital leadership, serving as COO at Enloe for two years before helming the organization. He has held executive positions at Fremont-Rideout Health Group in Yuba City, Calif., and other hospitals and health systems across Arizona, Idaho and Washington.


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