Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Health Care Association Board of Trustees announced Monday the selection of Karl Gills as its new chief executive officer.
"Karl is highly respected in the region and brings years of experience to his new job," board Chairman Bob Maddox said. "We are very excited to have Karl join our health care team."
Hundreds of professionals applied for the position, Public Relations Director Christine McKelvie said. "The search process was very thorough," she added.
Indeed, the hospital board hired a professional search team out of Kansas to ensure that the candidate chosen be a good match for the community.
Earlier this year, Maddox said the board was trying to be careful in choosing someone who was not only technically proficient but who would be a good fit for the town and board.
Gills was selected not only for his impressive resume, which included "all the credentials and all the necessary people skills," CPA and quality control director Dana Tredway said, but also because the things he likes to do in his personal life fit with Steamboat.
"He's an avid skier, he's from Colorado and he's always been interested in these rural areas out here," she said.
Margaret Sabin, who resigned as CEO in March because of what Maddox called "personality differences," is excited for the local health care organization.
"I think it is wonderful that the board has chosen a CEO," said Sabin, who now runs a much larger health care organization in California. "I sincerely hope that the employees and physicians celebrate this opportunity to move ahead with new leadership and continue to serve the community through constant improvement, vision and dedication to excellence."
Gills' goals coincide with Sabin's enthusiasm.
"I'm very pleased to become a part of the Steamboat Springs Health Care Association," Gills said. "This position offers me exciting new opportunities and challenges. Being selected as the chief executive officer of this dynamic and growing organization is a rare opportunity that I am very excited about."
Specifically, Gills is excited about coming into a facility with as positive a track record and future as the Yampa Valley Medical Center.
In 1999, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations gave the medical center a rating of 96 out of 100. The accreditation organization, which has deemed status with the federal government, essentially scores health care facilities in terms of quality care and outcomes research for various different types of services.
A score of 96 is extraordinary and represents high compliance with standards and sound quality care. The score is even more noteworthy considering they'd just moved into a new facility when the score was reported, because some of the standards by which a health care facility is measured address the physical environment itself.
"Very few hospitals nationally score that high a level with an outside accrediting agency. And the score was achieved within a month after moving," Gills said. "This speaks very well of the commitment of the board, medical and hospital staff and management to the quality of care provided."
Gills is excited to be among such highly esteemed professionals.
"The things I really want to come in and do are to continue to support those three groups, by maintaining programs and practices that contribute to a high level of patient care in acute care as well as extended care. And, as new programs develop, to assure that those new programs develop in a manner that continues to support quality of care."
To the average Routt County patient, Gills said quality care means a patient of northwest Colorado can come to the local facility and obtain health care at a level in which they can be confident of outcomes and the quality of physician providers working there.
In terms of challenges, Gills is all too familiar with the restrictions of insurance payments to hospitals, with widespread labor shortages in professional staffing, and that in a resort community managing the fluctuations with staffing needs and cost of living will be of imminent importance.
Gills received his bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Denver and earned his master's degree in hospital and health services administration from Ohio State University. He began his health care career with Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines in 1978. He was president of Regional Health Services Inc. in Des Moines in 1986 when he moved to Greeley to become senior vice president of North Colorado Medical Center.
Gills served as administrator and CEO of NCMC from 1995 to 1999, when the hospital became part of the Banner Health Colorado system. He has served as Banner's chief operating officer since April 1999.
Gills will officially take over from Interim CEO Frank May on Jan. 3, 2001.
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