by Pam Zubeck
Linda Goodwin, chief nursing officer for city-owned Memorial Health System, has been hired as chief nursing officer for Via Christi Health in Wichita, Kan., effective April 4, according to the Wichita Business Journal.
Goodwin, a Kansas native, has more than 20 years experience in nursing leadership and also has worked at the Salina Regional Health Center and Hutchinson Hospital Corp. The Journal reported Goodwin's new boss, Randy Peterson, interim president and CEO for Via Christi, said she has a "proven track record of collaborating with physicians to deliver high quality care with measurable outcomes." He also said she has demonstrated she can meet organizational financial goals while juggling multiple facilities.
What makes Goodwin's resignation interesting is that it comes within a month after Memorial lost its chief operating officer, Jason Fahrlander, who took over as CEO of Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla., in late January.
Memorial is in limbo after a citizen panel recommended it be converted from city-owned to a nonprofit agency. A majority of City Council agreed, but a ballot measure was abandoned last week when Memorial learned it would have to pay $246 million to leave the Public Employees Retirement Association.
The nonprofit idea isn't dead, however. Memorial officials are preparing their own PERA estimate and say legislation or litigation might be necessary to free Memorial from PERA for an amount it can pay. A ballot measure could land on the November ballot. City voters must approve a governance change according to the City Charter.
Memorial officials say its future viability is at stake. Becoming a nonprofit, officials argue, will enable it to grow and create satellite operations in southern and southeastern Colorado — growth not allowed as a city-owned hospital with a mission to serve city residents.
Memorial spokeswoman Cari Davis said Wednesday that she's not aware of others who are leaving soon and described the departures as being driven by "professional opportunity and
personal/family needs, not Memorial's future."