NHCH hires interim CEO, engages consulting firm

Waimea’s North Hawaii Community Hospital on Thursday appointed an interim CEO and engaged a consulting firm in an effort to improve the facility’s financial performance and attract a permanent CEO.

Lowell W. Johnson is charged with turning around the hospital’s financial performance in the short term and laying the groundwork for a national search to attract a permanent CEO, according to the hospital’s board of directors. Huron Consulting Group will assist Johnson by looking at revenue cycles, supply chain management, labor practices and physician group practice management.

According to Bob Momsen, NHCH board of director’s chairman, the hospital over the last 17 years hasn’t been able to achieve a positive operating margin despite the efforts of many individuals, management teams and the board of directors. He noted the hospital faces many of the same challenges others small hospitals face including attracting specialty care physicians and changing revenue models impacted by reductions to insurance reimbursements.

Johnson, according to NHCH, has led for more than 35 years turnaround initiatives at a variety of hospitals across the nation and has previously worked with Huron seven times. Momsen also noted Johnson’s expertise will help prepare the hospital for coming changes to Medicare reimbursements.

Most recently Johnson served as interim president and CEO at California’s $340 million Salinas Valley Memorial Health System where, together with Huron Consulting Group, he led the organization through the development and implementation of performance improvements totaling more than $60 million, according to NHCH. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree of business administration from the Wharton Graduate School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania.