In a special meeting called by the Kiowa County Hospital District (KCHD) board of directors on Tuesday October 11th it was decided by a unanimous vote to hire Beth Bell to serve as the permanent CEO for KCHD. Jeanette Filpi was hired in January of this year to serve as the interim CEO for the District for a term of 6 months. When the first round of permanent CEO searches yielded an unfruitful ending, Filpi agreed to stay with the district until a CEO was found.
In the time that Filpi has been with KCHD many new changes to policy as well as procedures has changed. The pay scale for District employees has increased and incentive bonus’ have been implemented to reduce turnover as well as boost morale. These changes have laid a solid foundation for a new CEO to come in and hit the ground running.
Beth Bell who is the daughter of Paul and Barb Stavely and a 2003 graduate of Eads High School will come home to Kiowa County from Utah where she is currently the Administrative Director over hospital operations at Primary Children’s Hospital and Clinics in Salt Lake City. In an interview with the Kiowa County Independent she states that, “I’ve been supporting the build of a new campus that’s over 500,000 square feet and costs over $300 Million dollars. Prior to this role I was the Director for Ambulatory Operations.”
According to Filpi, Bell is scheduled to begin full-time at KCHD December 5th. Filpi will continue working until her expected end date of December 16 to allow for a 2- week overlap to help Bell transition into her new position.
Bell will bring more than her experience with her; she will also be bringing her family to Kiowa County. Her husband Chad Bell is an electrician and an “amazing dad” Bell dotes. The couple has 2 children, Henry who is 4 and a half and Hudson is 8 months old. Bell says that their family will be renting an apartment when they arrive while they search for the “right long-term solution.”
When asked what aspect of the position she is most excited about Bell states, “I’m excited to be part of an organization that played a pivotal role in my life. I spent my early childhood hanging around the clinic while my mom worked as a receptionist there. Later, I got my first job as an employee in the dietary department. I remember I broke a whole stack of plates and thought for sure I was going to get fired! When I realized I wanted to become a nurse the first step was obtaining experience, thankfully I was able to get certified as a nursing assistant through a program at the hospital one summer. All these experiences were essential in the development of me as a person, but especially as a professional. I’m proud of where I was raised, I’m proud of this organization and it’s not lost on me how important the success of this hospital is to the community. It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to serve the community in this capacity.”
Another change in the leadership at KCHD may cause some disruption to the current status quo, however, Bell anticipates there will be some challenges. “I think all health systems are struggling right now, the aftermath of COVID has been particularly hard with healthcare workers experiencing burnout, staffing shortages and continued uncertainty. That combined with leadership turnover and instability at the local level has been tough on everyone. I see it and I hear it from everyone I talk to. The exciting thing to me is that there are a lot of things going well. I can’t wait to help showcase what’s working and bring some positive energy back into the organization. We will work collaboratively to revamp the culture. I have a background in hospital operations, continuous improvement and building systems that last; the challenges ahead are motivating to me and I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting started. I have nothing but confidence in the hospital staff, the leadership team and our current board of directors.”
A statement made by KCHD board chairman Matt Prince praised the district’s new CEO, “Beth has a very impressive resume, is a highly intelligent person, and we are very excited to welcome her as our new CEO. These are exciting times at KCHD, and we feel Beth will lead the team in a positive direction and will help brighten the future of our medical care for the people of Kiowa County and neighboring communities.”
Bell states that one of the factors that led to her and her husband moving back to Kiowa County is, “We are really in love with the idea of raising our kids in a small town. I had one of the most amazing childhoods and I want to provide that opportunity to my kids.”