Humboldt General Begins Search for New Administrator

Humboldt General Hospital should have a new administrator in place by early spring, according to a search firm that will help the hospital land its new chief executive office.

HGH Interim Administrator Darlene Bryan told hospital board trustees at their December 27 meeting the hospital could welcome a new CEO in as early as 90 days, although representatives from Hunter Ambrose said 120 days would be very realistic.

Bryan was part of a recruitment committee that was formed by board chairman Mel Hummel to do three things: Determine if an executive search firm should be used to recruit a new CEO; if yes, recommend a specific firm; and, develop a CEO job description.

Bryan said the committee, which comprised several board members, hospital staff members, and a community member, unanimously agreed the search should be conducted by an executive search firm, and six companies were identified; of those, five submitted proposals and the group narrowed their recommendation to Hunter Ambrose.

The firm bills itself as a leader in national rural healthcare recruitment. In fact, Hunter Ambrose says its first clients were Critical Access Hospitals like Humboldt General; Critical Access Hospitals are acute care facilities with less than 25 beds.

Bryan said that was a big selling point with the group: since 2006, Hunter Ambrose has placed more than 1,500 candidates at CAHs in 40 states.

Another worry—cost—was alleviated by the firm, which charges a flat fee to retain a chief executive; the firm also extended its one year longevity guarantee to 18 months. If HGH’s new administrator leaves before that time, Hunter Ambrose will recruit a replacement free of charge.

“We need to find the right person,” said Bryan, “and we believe Hunter Ambrose will help us do that.”

Representatives from the Chicago-based company will be on site January 3-5 to meet with board trustees, hospital leaders, community members and more.

Additionally, the company is gathering data from email questionnaires—all of which will be used to formulate a CEO job description.

“It is a very involved process,” said Bryan, “but the consensus is we are more interested in getting the right person than getting a person here in 45 days.”

Until the time a new CEO takes his or her place, Bryan—HGH’s chief nursing officer—will act as the interim administrator.

Former CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish announced his resignation in October; his last day on the job was December 31.

Bryan said local residents can expect patient services at the hospital to remain a top priority during the transition period.