February 22, the Humboldt County Hospital District Board of Trustees voted
5 to 1 to offer Linda Simmons, a nurse turned CEO, the chief position
at Humboldt General Hospital.
If Simmons agrees, she is expected to assume her new post around the first of May.
Simmons was one of two final candidates for the job, down from nine potentials
who each presented the board with a dossier containing a personal profile,
a resume, and personal essays. From there, the board narrowed the field
to four, and each was interviewed via Skype.
Within a few days, Simmons and her co-candidate were invited to come to
Humboldt General Hospital for two days of on-site meetings with employees,
medical staff and community members. The evening of February 22, the board
conducted in-person interviews with both candidates, voting in the end
to offer the position to Simmons.
Simmons, a registered nurse, also holds masters degrees in science and
business administration. Additionally, she is a Fellow of the American
College of Healthcare Executives.
Simmons said she knew she wanted to be a nurse ever since she was a little
girl. She indicated over and over again in meetings and in her final interview
that her “true passion” is patient care and that would be
her focus as CEO along with staff, physician and community engagement.
In fact, Simmons told trustees during the Skype portion of her interview
her management style is “participatory” and that she wants
to be a champion for her team.
While Simmons said other hospitals had expressed interest in her as CEO,
she said HGH was at the top of her list.
Not only does she enjoy rural settings, but she stated repeatedly that
she loves the high desert in particular, especially after serving as CEO
at Rock Springs, Wyoming—a community she said reminds her of Winnemucca.
Simmons is also an active member of Rotary International. She said she
would be very engaged in the Humboldt County community and would find
ways to reach out, not only to meet local residents but to tackle long-term
issues that may have created a sense of distrust between the hospital
and its stakeholders.
Hunter Ambrose, the firm that managed the recruitment process, distributed
surveys to all staff members, medical staff members and community members
who met with Simmons and her co-candidate.
Trustee Ken Tipton noted on the night of final interviews that Simmons
was the hands-down favorite by all groups.
He and several other trustees also said that personal phone calls from
local residents who had participated in various parts of the two-day interview
itinerary for the two candidates, including public Town Hall/Meet &
Greets, were also weighted toward Simmons.
Simmons has served as the President and CEO of Decatur County Memorial
Hospital in Greensburg, Indiana, for the past six years. She said her
husband will accompany her to Winnemucca along with her labradoodle.