Editorial: TMH has CEO challenges ahead

On Tuesday, The Memorial Hospital at Craig announced the shocking news that CEO Chris Smolik had turned in his letter of resignation.

Editorial board

Tom Cramer, community representative

Jo Ann Baxter, community representative

Noelle Leavitt Riley, newspaper representative

Renee Campbell, newspaper representative

Amy Fontenot, newspaper representative

He worked for the hospital for only six months, making the news even more difficult to swallow. The announcement came on the heels of the hospital’s CFO, Brian Chalmers, saying that he is leaving TMH to work at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyo.

Before Smolik took the job last summer, an interim CEO took over in January 2013 as the hospital looked for a CEO to replace George Rohrich, who had been with the hospital since 2006.

These events beg the question: “Why is there all this turnover at TMH?”

TMH Chief of Organizational Excellence Jennifer Riley said the CEO and CFO resignations are not related, which we understand and respect, but it doesn’t eliminate the fact that the hospital’s two top officials are leaving.

Smolik barely had an opportunity to get to know the community in Craig. Chalmers, on the other hand, had been with the hospital since 2009.

So why did Smolik leave? We’ll never know, since it’s a personnel issue.

What we do know is that it’s bad publicity for the hospital. There’s no doubt the staff at TMH are wonderfully dedicated to their jobs, and it’s too bad the CEO didn’t follow suit.

Perhaps the hospital’s Board of Trustees should evaluate Quorum Health Resources, which provides the hospital’s management services. The board used QHR to find Smolik, and the board already has named the interim CEO for the hospital. John Rossfield was appointed by QHR.

Rossfield starts Jan. 27, the same day Chalmers leaves. Therefore, Chalmers will act as interim CEO until Rossfield steps in.

The whole situation is a concern for our community.

On a positive note, we recognize that TMH is a valuable resource for Craig and Moffat County. The hospital has opened its meeting rooms to various entities and has done well with community outreach.

The seminars TMH holds are informative and relevant. Most importantly, the doctors, nurses and the rest of the staff are extremely diligent, dedicated to and concerned about patient care.

Additionally, the new technology, equipment, specialty care doctors and women’s services that the hospital has integrated are phenomenal.

For all those reasons, we encourage the community to remain positive about the hospital as it goes through this difficult transition. Let’s give kudos to the doctors and nurses for all their hard work.

Also, we hope the board and Moffat County commissioners really think hard about what’s coming down the pike for TMH.

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