HCMC?s Faulkner announces resignation as CEO

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Tom Faulkner, chief executive officer at Hillsboro Community Medical

Center, announced late last week his intention to resign for
health

reasons, effective June 30.



Faulkner said he would prefer to continue in his role, but made
the

decision on the advice of his physician. He said his resignation
has

nothing to due with the current fiscal crisis facing the hospital
due

to the Balanced Budget Act, which slashed Medicare reimbursements
to

hospitals such as HCMC.



?Anyone who jumps to that conclusion is grossly underestimating my

reasons,? he said. ?My reasons are for health only. All the other

ramifications really have no bearing on my decision.?



Carl Long, chair of the HCMC board, said he will be sad to see

Faulkner step down.



?He?s done a great job for us,? Long said. ?We?re sad to see him

go?and I think he is too, but it?s not his decision. We?ll just
have

to go forward. We?ll start a search to find someone else to come
in

and run the hospital.?



The board will be meeting Thursday to develop a search strategy,
Long

said.



Come June 30, Faulkner will be completing his second tour of duty
with

HCMC. He first came to the hospital as interim administrator from

October 1997 to March 1998. In August 1998 he accepted an
invitation

to return in a permanent role.



Faulkner cited recent improvements to the physical plant as a key

achievement of his tenure.



?With the help of the city and the improvement bond, I think the

things that have taken place to bring about a more functional and

safer environment is probably a major, major step,? he said.



?It doesn?t sound too important to talk about a new roof, new air

conditioning, new boilers and new lighting, but it was all done
for

greater efficiency.?



Faulkner also said he feels good about his effort to develop a
team

spirit among the staff.



?I think we?ve pretty well developed a team concept,? he said.

?Everybody seems to be pulling in the same direction rather than
at

odds. We?ve got good people here, darn good people.?



Faulkner also helped spearhead cooperation talks with St. Luke

Hospital in Marion in an effort to address the difficult economic

issues facing most hospitals in Kansas.



?I think those talks should continue, and I think they will,?
Faulkner

said. ?What the ultimate outcome will be, I have no idea.



?We can?t cure what the government created,? he added. ?I don?t
think

hospitals are asking for more than what they deserve for the
services

they provide. We?re not fat cats or cash cows, and never were.
We?re

just trying to watch operations to make certain the facility stays

open.



?The facility has to stay open, there?s no question,? he added.

?Whatever that takes, I?m sure it will be done.?



Faulkner said he would continue in his role at HCMC if his health

permitted it because he has enjoyed the work and the community.



?The community as whole is delightful, progressive, kind,? he
said. ?I

don?t think you can find a better community, really. Everybody
seems

to be forward-thinking, and that?s certainly healthy.?



Faulkner?s years of experience in the hospital field will be
sorely

missed at HCMC, Long said.



?We relied on that experience a lot as a board?and his ability to

communicate not only locally, but across the state to other

health-care people,? Long said. ?He knew a lot of people in the

health-care business. Not only was he able to tap information for

himself, but for the hospital.?



Faulkner, who twice before has tried to retire, will live in
Wichita.



?I plan to come up this way and

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