The Adair County Hospital District board voted to hire David Rasmussen as CEO during a brief special called meeting Saturday.
The board went into executive session for less than 30 minutes before returning with the vote. Rasmussen has been serving as CEO at the Russell County Hospital while the hospital was managed by Alliant Management Services. The hospital announced this past week it changed management companies.
According to past articles in the Times-Journal in Russell County, Rasmussen has experience as a CEO within the investor-owned sector of the healthcare industry and an impressive track record in physician recruitment during his career. Rasmussen served as CEO of Haywood Park Community Hospital in Brownsville, Tenn. and McKenzie Regional Hospital in McKenzie, Tenn. Both hospitals are owned and operated by Community Health Systems in Brentwood, Tenn.
Rasmussen received his Masters Degree in Health Service Administration from the University of Arkansas and his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business from Idaho State University. He is also Board Certified in Healthcare Management by the American College of Health Care Executives in Chicago.
Rasmussen will receive $9,500 a month for a six-month probationary period then his salary will increase to $11,000 a month, according to board members. He will be an employee of the hospital and not under contract.
Board members were encouraged by the opportunity that suddenly occurred this week after Russell County changed management firms, leaving Rasmussen available.
"It's divine intervention," said board member Richard Grant with a laugh.
All current board members, Chairman Jim Evans, Grant, Craig Pyles and Bruce White, were present and voted for the motion.
Rasmussen will start work at Westlake Monday.
Board members would not discuss the relationship with Spectrum Health Partners, who resigned from a contract that provided a CEO. The contract ends Sept. 14 and board members would not comment about whether the transition is a friendly one. Spectrum was receiving $25,000 a month for the CEO position.
While the hiring Saturday brought some enthusiasm to hospital employees and board members, the hospital is going through a difficult time right now reducing staff positions to balance the budget.
Several employees have resigned after word that the hospital would no longer pay full health benefits for employees and family members. Guy Shepherd, the IT director who has led the hospital's effort to implement "Meaningful Use," a digital health care records project, has given his notice. Shepherd has offered to help with the transition and to make sure the hospital can continue successfully with the transition.
County Judge Executive Ann Melton attended the brief meeting and said she thought the board's decision to hire a CEO was a good move. She does not know the new CEO but got great reports from the Russell County Judge Executive, she said.
Melton also commented about the employees they are losing at the hospital.
"Hopefully in a year we will be hiring them back," she said.
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