Three finalists seeking to be the new chief executive officer at Bartlett Regional Hospital will visit Juneau starting next Friday, with public meet-and-greets scheduled for each as the hospital seeks to move on from numerous recent leadership controversies.
Two of the three finalists are applying after short stints as CEOs at their respective hospitals, although the specifics of why are unknown since they could not be reached Friday and their preliminary interviews with BRH’s board of directors were in closed executive sessions. Erin Hardin, a hospital spokesperson, stated in an email interview Juneau’s location was among the prime motivating factors for at least one of the finalists.
“I know for at least one of those candidates, they were not looking for a new position, but applied as Alaska is a dream destination for their family,” Hardin wrote. “This was referenced in their resume materials.”
Visits by individual finalists will include meet-and-greets from 5-6 p.m. June 3, 6 and 7, Hardin stated. The rest of the candidates’ agendas during their visits are still being finalized, with times and locations scheduled to be announced next week, but the hospital’s board has scheduled meetings the mornings after each of meet-and-greet that will available online via Zoom.
The board’s next announced meeting following the interviews is 5:30 p.m. June 28.
The three finalists selected from six candidates interviewed by the BRH board are:
Emily Dilley, CEO of Kearny County Hospital in Lakin, Kan., since September of 2021. In a “letter to the community” posted at that hospital’s website when her appointment was announced she wrote “there were many factors that drew me here, perhaps most of all the community and organization’s strongly rooted values and forward-thinking culture…The richness and diversity of the community was also part of the draw for me. Diverse perspectives drive innovative thinking.” Before that she held various leadership positions with Prairie Ridge Health (formerly Columbus Community Hospital) in Columbus, Wisc. from 2012 to 2021.
Matthew Heyn, president and CEO of Delta Health in Delta, Colo., since April of 2020. When appointed to that job he stated in a hospital press release “What I can say is that there will be a pretty significant cultural transformation with employees to where they feel empowered and at liberty to discuss ideas on how to better care for patients. These will be aligned against organizational goals that will be developed in conjunction with the Board’s strategic plan.” Before that job he served in senior leadership positions at four other hospitals in Colorado and Kansas for 13 years.
Jeffery Hudson-Covolo, vice president for patient care services and chief nurse executive of Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville, Calif., since January of 2014. In March of this year he was named one of 66 Becker’s Healthcare CNOs to Know nationally (of 37,475 registered). “Being a servant leader is about establishing relationships to be able to build mutual trust and respect,” he told The Sun Gazette newspaper after winning the award. “This framework leads to teams being able to be resilient and masterful during a crisis or providing healthcare on an everyday basis.” Previously he has worked as the chief operating officer or CNO for four hospitals in Illinois, Florida and California during a 10-year period.
BRH is seeking a new permanent CEO after going through multiple CEOs during a 20-month period ending last October.
The retirement of Chuck Bill in early 2021 after six years in the position resulted in Chief Financial Officer Kevin Benson serving as interim CEO until Rose Lawhorne was named the permanent replacement in the spring of 2021. However, she resigned and then was fired by the board six months later after an inappropriate personal relationship with a subordinate staff member, and Kathy Callahan briefly came out of retirement to fill the position until Jerel Humphrey was named interim CEO, which he will remain until a permanent CEO begins.
Other leadership turmoil has occurred recently, including the departure of Vlad Tocaas, COO, the resignation of Kevin Benson as CFO and the resignation of Bradley Grigg as chief behavioral health officer.
In January the hospital announced a new hospital leadership structure that, according to Hardin at the time, resulted as Humphrey “came in and has done an evaluation and determined it made sense to go back to the prior, streamlined organization.”
• Juneau Empire reporter Mark Sabbatini can be reached at email@example.com