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Hospital boards merge, change

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14th, 2013

New chairman for the San Luis Valley Health Board of Trustees Karla Hardesty, left, and former chairman Jan Gay, who remains as a trustee, are excited to serve in their new roles governing the physician led and professionally managed organization.

ALAMOSA – “It is exciting to have a new organization, a new CEO and a new board chair,” said Jan Gay, past chairman of both the SLV Regional Medical Center and Conejos County Hospital Board of Trustees.

Along with the integration of the two hospitals and their five clinics into San Luis Valley Health in July, Konnie Martin became CEO and the governing boards became one. At this same time, Jan passed her gavel to Karla Hardesty who has served as a trustee on both boards since 2007.

“I think we’re in a really good position right now with our recent integration and all the changes that have been implemented under Jan’s leadership,” Karla said, adding that she is prepared to lead the board as even more changes become necessary. “There are incredible challenges ahead because the reimbursement for our healthcare is changing and the Affordable Care Act is requiring us to do a lot of things really quickly and that has put a lot pressure on our staff.”

A critical part of this involves electronic medical records (EMR) as the hospitals and clinics transfer all patient data into a digital format to meet federal mandates. This is also in part why Jan believes Karla is the ideal person to serve as chair. “She is young and she understands technology,” said Jan, who will remain as a trustee, bringing her board commitment since 1996 full circle.

Jan’s first four years were as a trustee. She then served six years as vice chairman until 2006 when she became chairman. During her tenure, she saw the hiring of two CEOs, purchase of property, construction of facilities, the affiliation with CCH and Centura Health, and the integration of San Luis Valley Health.

Jan recalled that when she first joined the board the specialty physician’s services clinic was not affiliated with the hospital, but to keep it from closing in 2003, SLVRMC brought the providers on staff. “At that time, hospitals didn’t employee physicians and when we did it we were on the cutting edge,” she said. “Now we have a provider leadership council and Dr. Gregory McAuliffe is serving as our chief medical officer; this is probably one of our smartest moves.”

Under Jan’s leadership, the organizational values now state that San Luis Valley Health is “Physician Led and Professionally Managed: Our strong belief that our success lies in collaboration with providers; that we can best serve patients and families by transforming the hospital-provider relationship into a more united, collaborative, and shared endeavor.”

Karla said the current board gives credence to this. “We have five physicians on our board which a lot of boards around the country don’t yet have,” she said. “A real key piece moving forward is to make sure that our physicians are leading a lot of the activities that we do and the decisions we make.”

New CEO Martin looks forward to working with the board and Karla. She said, “Karla is an outstanding choice for this newly integrated Board of Trustees. As an active board member she has not only kept a finger on the pulse of SLVRMC (now SLV Health) but has also shown interest in national healthcare policy. With all the changes we face, she has and will continue to represent our interests well. We are fortunate to have her in this leadership role.”

In addition to chairing the San Luis Valley Health Board, Karla is also an alternate trustee delegate for the American Hospital Association Region 8 Policy Board. “We discuss the direction of healthcare and how healthcare policy directly impacts patients and then we make recommendations to the legislature at the state and federal level,” she said, adding that she is honored be a representative for rural healthcare, and especially the valley, in this way.

Karla has worked at Adams State University for 11 years as project manager in enrollment management and as interim assessment director. She and her husband Matt have two children, 12-year-old Kaden and nine-year-old Aani.

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