Corrie Ponikvar stands in front of the donor wall Thursday at The Memorial Hospital. Ponikvar’s five-year term on the hospital board is coming to an end.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Corrie Ponikvar stands in front of the donor wall Thursday at The Memorial Hospital. Ponikvar’s five-year term on the hospital board is coming to an end.

TMH board member ends tenure

Commission to interview 2 candidates for position

Kinkaid, Luke up for TMH board

The Moffat County County Commission will interview two people — John Kinkaid and Forrest Luke — on Monday for an open seat on The Memorial Hospital board.

Corrie Ponikvar formerly held the now available board seat.

The commission reviewed applications and chose Kinkaid and Luke to interview.

Commissioners will meet with the two candidates at 9 a.m. Monday at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way. Hospital CEO George Rohrich will also attend the interviews.

Ponikvar completed her first five-year term, but did not reapply for the position. She said she is hoping to pursue other endeavors.

The new board member will be announced during the commission’s Tuesday meeting, and will attend Wednesday’s board meeting at 7 p.m. at the hospital, 750 Hospital Loop.

As her five years on The Memorial Hospital board comes to a close, Corrie Ponikvar said she will miss having an impact on health care services in Moffat County.

“I will really miss seeing board members I worked with and gaining knowledge of what goes on in the health care industry,” she said. “It’s all really interesting and very enlightening.

“But knowing we would be making a difference in health care services being provided in the community … I will miss being a part of that.”

Ponikvar’s open seat will be filled before the first board meeting of 2010, which will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the hospital, 750 Hospital Loop.

Two candidates are in the running for the open seat and will be interviewed by Moffat County commissioners at 9 a.m. Monday at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way.

The new board member will be announced Tuesday.

Ponikvar said she could have reapplied for the position but chose not to.

She said many things have changed in her life during the past five years, including getting remarried.

She and her husband, John, enjoy traveling on weekends, and she said she wouldn’t want to shirk the important responsibilities that come with serving on the board.

“The main reason is that it’s a very large time commitment,” she said. “When you serve on a hospital board, it’s an enormous responsibility. I take that commitment very seriously and want to do a good job.

“With the other things I’d like to do, I just don’t feel like I’d make the time commitment that the job requires.”

Reflecting on her five-year term, during which TMH planned, built and moved into a new facility, one particular month came to mind.

It was June 2008, just a few months before breaking ground on the new building.

“I had 15 meetings scheduled that month,” she said. “I was the chair of the building committee, and we were trying to roll out the hospital floor plan to the community. That’s obviously very unusual, but I remember being like, ‘Wow.’”

She said a lot of extra reading and research went in to being able to understand the processes to make informed decisions.

TMH board chairman Ron Danner said Ponikvar was an invaluable asset, bringing discipline and a high level of critical thinking to the board.

“She absolutely added a perspective about making sure we had everything thought out,” Danner said. “She helped us get through some of those tasks associated with building. Her critical thinking, analysis and those skills are absolutely what she brought, and she created a kind of discipline and got the board to think that way also.”

Danner said a particular accomplishment sticks out in his mind.

He said Ponikvar was instrumental in the interior and exterior designs for the new hospital.

“As you can tell, she did an excellent job,” he said. “That part of it was her touch.”

Ponikvar said she is proud of helping to recruit and hire Samantha Johnston, TMH chief of organizational excellence, who she said was a key part of getting the mill levy passed in 2007 to pay for the new hospital.

Also, as liaison to The Memorial Hospital Foundation, Ponikvar said she helped raise $1 million in donations.

Throughout the past five years, she said she and the board worked together as a team to recognize the shortage of physicians and recruit new family practitioners to Moffat County.

“We knew that we needed to begin recruiting physicians, and we did that with the help of the administration,” she said. “Obviously, it’s a team with other board members and administrators. Together, we were able to see the reality of a new, state-of-the-art-hospital, along with community support.”

Danner said he will miss her discipline and thoroughness on the board and the committees she served on, but he also will miss interacting with her.

“There is an ongoing dialogue on the board,” he said. “Like, ‘How are you doing, how’s your mom?’ It’s those types of things that are the real bonus of being on a board like this, where you’re all trying to make the ship go in the right direction.”

For Ponikvar, her term was a significant experience in her life, and she knows the board member who takes her place will enjoy the ride as much as she did.

“It was a very gratifying and humbling experience to serve on that board,” Ponikvar said. “It was interesting and educational to learn about the public process. I will always have an interest in quality health care and the accessibility of health care in the community. I will always strongly believe that we not only deserve that, but we should have it.”

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