Sitka Hospital's CEO Hands in Resignation

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Sitka Community Hospital Chief Executive Officer Hugh Hallgren will retire in June after more than four years on the job, the SCH board announced today.
    “It’s always better to leave when the party is going full blast than when people ask you to leave,” Hallgren said. “I have a great deal of confidence that the hospital is heading in the right direction.”
    He said he and his wife will move to Yuma, Ariz., where his wife, Tanya, has taken a counseling job with the U.S. Marine Corps.
    Board members say Hallgren is leaving the organization in better shape than when he arrived.
    “When he came we were just trying to haul ourselves out of a rough financial time,” board secretary Ann Wilkinson said today. “He’s led the effort sending us into better times. He’s stabilized finances, added services and reinstated OB services, and other services that the community asked for.”
    Hallgren said the new options for patients – including the reinstatement of surgical services and specialty clinics – were added in response to public demand.
    “The whole basis has been to allow people to stay on the island, to get health care, should they so desire,” he said. “It’s something that’s been very popular.”
    Wilkinson said Hallgren has increased the size of Mountainside Family Healthcare, the outpatient clinic for SCH, adjacent to the hospital. He has also built a high-quality management team, she added.
    “One of the best things he’s done is hired fabulous staff in management areas,” Wilkinson added. “He’s leaving us in much better position than when he came.”
    SCH Board President Celeste Tydingco said in a news release from the hospital: “Hugh’s leadership and vision for our hospital have been critical to the success we have enjoyed during his tenure. We will miss him and wish him well in his retirement.”
    Hallgren said he has enjoyed his time at SCH and in the community. He said the successes during his tenure were achieved with the help of a number of people who “provided vision and leadership” to implement the changes.
    “I’ll miss the people,” he said. “I love this town. I love this hospital. ... It’s just the joy of working in a small town, at a small hospital. You can see the results of your efforts. That’s very rewarding.”
    Hallgren said he’s looking forward to staying busy in his retirement, and getting involved in volunteering and working with youths.
    The board in its news release said the hospital plans to continue its efforts to create an addition to Mountainside Family Health Clinic.
    “The board is very excited about this opportunity to expand Mountainside Family Healthcare and increase the service the hospital provides to the community and will lead the effort to raise the remaining funds required to open the new clinic,” the news release said.
    The board will be working with the hospital’s consulting firm Quality Health Resources to recruit a new CEO before Hallgren’s departure.

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