By Sarah Pridgeon
CEO Jan Van Beek has resigned following a three-month improvement program enforced by the Crook County Medical Services District Board of Trustees. To the surprise of the board, Dr. Kirk Mitchell handed in his resignation at the same time, says Chairman Sandy Neiman.
The district is expecting the arrival of an interim administrator this week, says Neiman. Ken Archer’s services have been secured with the help of Rapid City Regional Health.
“We’re looking forward to moving ahead and moving forward,” Neiman comments, explaining that the board will begin the search for a permanent CEO once it has all its “ducks in a row.”
“We want someone who will fit with the Sundance area and who can help a small hospital move forward, not only with the projects we have right now but those we will have in the future,” she says.
Dr. Mitchell also resigned during Thursday’s meeting. His decision came “totally out of the blue” and was not requested, says Neiman.
Dr. Mitchell’s contract requires him to continue working for the district for 90 days. In the meantime, she says, Archer has expressed that one of his major skills is seeking doctors and recruiting and one doctor has already called to ask for an interview.
The improvement program was intended to address concerns brought up by district employees at a work session in January, during which the board considered whether to terminate Van Beek’s employment. After hearing the thoughts of department heads and doctors and debating the question in executive session, the board opted to implement an improvement program instead.
During the program, the board intended to keep watch on the situation based on communication and meeting guidelines and criteria.
“We actually gave 90 days and then 30 more days,” says Neiman.
Despite the shake-up, she says, the board’s focus will be on the future and on getting the new CT scanner and digital x-ray machine up and running. The board is also moving forward on fixing the roof of the hospital, replacing windows and seeking master gardeners for landscaping and will then, if money is available, move ahead with new flooring.