Nacogdoches Co. Memorial Hospital names interim CEO

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches County Memorial Hospital Board selected an interim chief executive officer Tuesday.

His name is Gary Kendrick, and he was approved by a unanimous vote by the board after they heard a recommendation from the search committee. Kendrick actually works for Community Hospital Corporation, a management company Memorial hired following the January death of former CEO Tim Hayward.

Kendrick has 26 years of experience in hospital administration. According to his resume, Kendrick served this year as an interim director of a Georgia hospital. In March, according to published articles, he was selected to run a Plano hospital. The Indiana resident will have a one-year contract unless a permanent CEO is hired sooner.

Kendrick won't be giving on-camera interviews until he moves to Nacogdoches sometime in August.

East Texas News spoke with hospital leadership on why it's so vital to have a full time interim CEO in place until a permanent one is hired.

Soon after former Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital CEO Tim Hayward died, his longtime friends and co-workers were asked to assume his duties. Finance Director Jane Ann Bridges is serving as acting CEO. Chief Nursing Officer Beth Knight is assisting. Bridges says it's time for a full time interim hospital administrator.

"It's just such a time investment," Bridges said. "And really, by doing both jobs you're not doing either job justice."

The responsibility is tremendous as the hospital is in the midst of a multi-million dollar expansion. Overseeing construction was the best part of the job to Bridges, but the finance specialist knows strategic planning is suffering.

"I don't think we're in great shape. We've not been keeping everything done hence why we need that administrator at the helm," Bridges said. "It's a very important position. It's very critical to the overall operation of the hospital."

A selection committee is complimentary of its top candidate.

"We're very pleased that this candidate does have experience working with hospital district operations and we think he can help guide us as we get ready to get into a more permanent situation with the permanent CEO," said hospital board member Lisa King.

The contract commits the interim CEO up to one year, but that person can be released once a permanent administrator is hired.

The hospital board is hoping to hire a permanent CEO in at least six months. Community Hospital Corporation and the board are working together in the selection process.

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