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October 06, 2011 9:00 am

EDITORIAL: Stable leadership needed to regain confidence at Powell Valley Healthcare

Written by Ilene Olson

The recent resignation of former Powell Valley Healthcare Chief Executive Officer Paul Cardwell — and the subsequent refusal by HealthTech Management Service and the Powell Valley Healthcare Board to rescind that resignation — were so unusual and so unexpected that they leave us scratching our heads in confusion.

And, because both actions are personnel issues and therefore confidential, the reasons behind them are mysteries to most Powell Valley Healthcare medical providers and employees, and to the general public.

However, it does seem that the PVHC board was in a no-win situation. Since the chief executive officer actually is an employee of HealthTech, they could only advise HealthTech of their wishes. And, given Cardwell’s previous history of accepting the position, then abandoning it, and later asking for — and receiving — another chance, HealthTech’s refusal to reinstate his employment again is understandable.

But during his six months here, Cardwell made a positive impact on the hospital and medical campus. Under his leadership, needed doctors were recruited and existing plans to expand and update hospital and medical building facilities gained traction.

Finally, after months of merely treading water while waiting for a new CEO — twice — to guide the organization, it felt like Powell Valley Healthcare was moving forward swiftly in the direction it should be.

Now, with Cardwell’s departure, the result for some is a feeling of betrayal; for most, it’s disappointment, to say the least.

For the third time in a year, Powell Valley Healthcare is without consistent, long-term leadership to guide the organization forward. The wind has left the ship’s sails once again, and the hospital and medical campus seem to be at yet another standstill.

It is encouraging that the appointed interim chief executive is a leader with proven experience, and we hope he can begin to move the organization forward once again. But his leadership still is only temporary.

Powell Valley Healthcare employees and the community in general need to regain a feeling of permanence, stability and confidence that comes only with stable, capable leadership at the helm of the hospital and medical facilities. We hope the next chief executive leader can provide the needed guidance and stability to improve morale and confidence, and again fill the organization’s sails with the winds of progress while also making sound financial decisions for the hospital and the community.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link October 06, 2011 10:44 am posted by Greg

    It is my opinion that much of the difficulty found at PVHC is a direct result of lack of Sr. Leadership. The CEO is just one member of the Sr. Leadership team, an important member but just one in the team. Perhaps the board might look at the rest of the Sr. Leadership for an answer as to why the issues. Many problems exixted before the new CEO and will remain with the next CEO.
    My 2 cents

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