Names of two finalists to be next Aspen Valley Hospital CEO released |

Names of two finalists to be next Aspen Valley Hospital CEO released

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

The president of a hospital in Wisconsin and the chief executive of a hospital in New Mexico will undergo separate interviews tonight for the CEO’s job at Aspen Valley Hospital.

Hospital spokeswoman Ginny Dyche released the names of the two finalists, Daniel Bonk and Peter Hofstetter, on Sunday. Bonk is president of Aurora Medical Center in Summit, Wis. Hofstetter is CEO of Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, N.M. Aspen Valley Hospital’s board of directors meets at 5:30 p.m.

Bonk’s employer, Aurora Health Care, is a nonprofit network with 15 hospitals in Wisconsin. Its $270 million hospital in Summit opened in March 2010. Bonk reportedly joined Aurora in 2003.

According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bonk previously worked for a hospital system that later came to be called Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. He was president of the St. Francis and St. Joseph hospitals in Milwaukee. He also has worked for hospitals in Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina and Arizona.

A 2010 story in the Milwaukee Business Journal notes that Bonk was a track star at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and that he held a record for running 880 yards. His athletic accomplishments include being named a college All-American twice and qualifying for the Olympic trials in 1976.

That same story pointed out that Bonk underwent two spinal fusions when he was a teenager. The surgeries were completed by taking bone fragments from his hip, creating a difference in the length of his legs, eventually leading to a total knee replacement.

Having to undergo multiple surgeries and months of rehabilitation led to his career in health care, the article said.

“The biggest thing I took away that I use at my job today is hand-offs — the importance of the doctor, the therapist, the nurse all communicating with you,” the business journal quoted Bonk as saying. “There is nothing that makes a patient more anxious than not knowing what is going on. That always bothered me, and it stuck with me.”

Hofstetter reportedly took the reins of Holy Cross in May 2009. The Taos News reported that he previously worked as CEO of Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, Vt.

The same publication reported two weeks ago that Hofstetter and other Holy Cross administrators held a community forum on Sept. 18 to address concerns about the elimination of 44 jobs at the facility.

“Health care is changing, and we can’t be the same Holy Cross we used to be,” Hofstetter is quoted as telling a sparse audience composed largely of hospital board members and officials.

The nonprofit Holy Cross faces an uncertain financial future as state and federal governments change the way they fund health care, the CEO reportedly said. A financial shortfall prompted the 29-bed hospital’s leadership to reconsider its role in the community, he added.

“We can’t be all things to all people anymore,” he told The Taos News in a Sept. 16 interview.

Tonight’s board meeting in Aspen Valley Hospital’s Oden Conference Center is open to the public. The board’s president is Dr. Barry Mink, and the other four members are real estate executive Chuck Frias, Dr. Mindy Nagle, tax and real estate attorney Lee Schumacher and retired health care attorney David Eisenstat.

A hospital statement said the board plans to choose its next CEO at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 14. The CEO position has been held on an interim basis by former board member John Sarpa since David Ressler resigned from his post in April to take a job in Tucson, Ariz.

Resumes of 40 applicants were screened by Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm based in Oak Brook, Ill. In July, nine candidates were presented on paper to a hospital search committee.

“The process has been thorough, and we were extremely pleased with the caliber of all the candidates considered by the search committee,” Mink said in a prepared statement. “Each brought a wealth of experience and knowledge, and narrowing the field to the two finalists was a daunting task. Making the final selection will be a difficult decision.”

Dyche said the salary range for the position, $313,0000 to $467,000, is based on a CEO compensation survey the hospital commissioned last fall.

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