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Vail Daily’s View: Hospital searches for right fit at CEO

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

What’s going on at the hospital?

It’s a question asked frequently in recent years, and the community is asking again as another CEO churns through the revolving door at Vail Valley Medical Center. That’s four CEOs now, in the past six years.

John Cassin became the latest hotshot to pass through after 14 months ago replacing Greg Repetti, who had a three-year run in possibly the most difficult job in the valley.

Squeezed between worthy competitors to the east (Summit) and west (Glenwood), recession exacerbating the financial pressure that already existed, a rather large strategic question about where to expand the hospital and simply the day-to-day challenges in medical care are daunting all by themselves.

Add to that knee-surgery pioneer Richard Steadman is not getting any younger, and the future of his clinic to the stars faces the usual questions about the future.

The Steadman-Hawkins clinic and foundation have enjoyed a tremendous run since moving to Vail in 1990. Will the A-Rods and Dan Marinos and Bode Millers and so on continue putting Vail on the orthopedic map with the next generation of surgical stars?

The board, CEO and other leaders at Vail Valley Medical Center have a little something to say about all that.

So Cassin this week moves on to “pursue other business endeavors” after working on improvements at the hospital in Vail and the particularly interesting question of whether to build a main campus in Avon, Edwards or Wolcott — or stay in Vail. Each option is filled with political undertows and potential competitive consequences.

All of this is to recognize that the CEO position is one tough job, as is serving on the board of the private, not-for-profit hospital.

In transformational times such as these, it can’t be entirely surprising that board and CEOs’ visions will clash, either.

Still, the hospital has made some important gains this decade, most notably building the Shaw Regional Cancer Center and the medical clinic it shares with Glenwood-based Valley View Hospital in Eagle among its host of improvements.

The institution has managed to function well through its series of CEOs., just as the school district has changed superintendents, the county has turned over managers, and the paper has changed publishers at more or less the same pace. None of these are easy jobs, to be sure.

But somehow the organizations endure, manage to keep improving and provide their essential services to the community at a fairly high level even as their top leaders change.

Maybe question here has less to do with the people revolving through the chief administrator position as how these institutions survive and sometimes even thrive through it.

That is to say, the hospital will be fine, and the community will be fine. The board knows the drill, as do the various other department heads at the hospital.

Some decisions may be slowed, and who’s to say that might not be the best course in these times anyway?

And eventually, the Vail Valley Medical Center board will find the right fit for the long term with the next choice for CEO. Or the next.

In the meantime, the hospital staff and board can handle it. They’ve had plenty of practice.

Vail Daily Editorial Board


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