Banner Churchill Community Hospital has welcomed a new chief executive officer after former CEO Hoyt Skabelund accepted a similar position in Colorado.
Skabelund, who had been at Banner Churchill since 2014, is now the division CEO for Banner Health’s rural hospitals and CEO of the Sterling Regional MedCenter in Sterling. Banner Churchill’s new CEO is Rob Carnahan, who has been the chief nursing officer for four years.
Skabelund previously worked at Plains Regional Medical Center, a 106-bed hospital in Clovis, N.M., before coming to Fallon in 2014. His new hospital is a 25-bed acute care hospital in northeast Colorado. Sterling is 128 miles northeast of Denver and has a population of about 14,000.
Skabelund said the new position is a dream-come-true in which he oversees many rural hospitals within Banner Health’s umbrella.
“I love working with rural communities,” Skabelund said in comparing smaller cities and towns as Cinderella because of their underdog status and how they strive to become better.
When the current CEO who oversaw smaller hospitals retired, Skabelund said Banner created a rural division and asked him if he would consider taking the position as CEO of rural hospitals.
Skabelund said he could have used Fallon as his home base for visiting the rural hospitals, but the Utah native said he would be on the road constantly. Both he and his wife, Carmen, didn’t think that would be a good idea.
The timing for Skabelund couldn’t be better although he has mixed emotions leaving a community his family loves.
“It will be difficult to leave Fallon and the people who welcomed us,” he said. “I will miss the sunrises and sunsets and the mountain views. Fallon is truly an oasis. Where else is it an hour to the airport and 90 miles to Lake Tahoe, an eighth wonder of the world. We’ll miss the restaurants, friends, people we met through the schools, our church and community.”
In his role, he will visit Fallon and Banner Churchill at least twice a year, and when he does return, Skabelund said Carmen may accompany him.
His daughter Whitney, a senior at Churchill County High School. will graduate this month. She will attend Utah State University in the fall.
“These changes allow for a continuation of excellent leadership within Banner Health’s rural operations and locally in Fallon,” said Jim Ferando, president of Banner Health’s Western Region. “Hoyt will fit well with the clinical excellence in place in Sterling. Rob is well respected by his team and the health care professionals across Nevada. I am confident he will be successful.”
Under the leadership of Skabelund, his administration staff and Banner Churchill employees, Banner Churchill Community Hospital was one of three Nevada hospitals honored in September 2016 for high performance in quality care measures and patient satisfaction.
HeathInsight, a nonprofit health care collaborative, presented the HealthInsight Quality Award to the hospital.
Recipients were chosen based on their performance on inpatient and outpatient process of care measures, a national survey of patients’ experience of hospital care and the facility’s 30-day readmission data. The data is combined into a single weighted score. Hospitals at or above the 75th percentile nationally receive the award.
“Two of the three hospitals recognized are community hospitals,” Skabelund said. “That shows that excellent care exists in smaller facilities for residents so they don’t have to drive long distances to large facilities. Congratulations to the team of providers on this accomplishment.”
Until his former position is filled Carnahan will serve as both CNO and CEO. About six months ago, Carnahan said he was asked about his future plans and thoughts about leadership. He said leadership roles centering on nursing interested him, but he also expressed interest in becoming a CEO.
As CNO, Carnahan had responsibility for all of the hospital’s clinical areas, ambulance service, cardiopulmonary services, diagnostic imaging and laboratory services. He leads a staff of 75 nurses and more than 200 employees total. He was selected president-elect of the Nevada Organization of Nurse Leaders for 2017.
Banner Health didn’t look far to select their new CEO. Since Skabelund and Carnahan worked closely together over the years, the transition went smoothly.
Carnahan, a former nurse, has been with Banner Health since 2011 and Banner Churchill since 2013. He also served in the U.S. Army as a medical specialist in Iraq. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Indiana University and a master’s degree at Grand Canyon University. He resides in Fallon with his wife, Kristin, and 9-year-old son Chase.
A native of Cedar Lake, Ind., Carnahan said Fallon reminds him of his home town except the city surrounds a lake.