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North Bay Business Journal

Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 3:02 pm

Palm Drive names new CEO

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    SEBASTOPOL — Palm Drive Hospital announced today that it has hired a new chief executive.

    Richard Polheber, a former CEO of Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales, Ariz., was unanimously selected by the Palm Drive Health Care District board.

    The 37-bed hospital had been working with interim CEOs ever since Jim Russell was let go, the hospital said. Most recently, Mike Lieb was appointed interim CEO in May by Brim Healthcare Inc., a Tennessee-based hospital management company that oversees finances at the hospital.

    Mr. Polheber will earn $250,000 a year, according to the hospital. He is expected to begin Dec. 1 of this year.

    “I think the board was very impressed with Rich’s experience and his knowledge of so many aspects of running a small hospital,” Board President Nancy Dobbs said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to having a permanent CEO who can lead and support Palm Drive’s continued successful development.”

    Mr. Polheber oversaw operations at Carondelet Holy Cross, a similarly -sized hospital at 31 beds, from 1999 to 2009.

    “I am truly excited about the opportunity to come to Palm Drive,” Mr. Polheber said. “This is a long-term commitment for me. I think the hospital has as sound foundation and provides a great level of service that can advance now and grow.”

    The financials of the hospital have stabilized over the past year. The hospital entered into a three-year, $250,000 a year contract with Brim, which helped broker a bond sale of approximately $10 million.  The bond sale helped the hospital emerge from bankruptcy. In 2007, the hospital was mired in more than $6 million in operating losses.

    Brim brought prospective candidates to the board after having screened each one. The board then screened candidates and eventually chose Mr. Polheber. While the CEO is a Brim-paid employee, he serves at the pleasure of the board and can be replaced by the five-member board.

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