Rural Health Leadership Radio™

Over the last ten years, over 100 rural hospitals have closed their doors. Roughly one in three rural hospitals have been identified as “at risk.” If there was ever a need for strong leadership, that time is now. RHLR’s mission is to provide a forum to have conversations with rural health leaders to discuss and share ideas about what is working, what is not working, lessons learned, success stories, strategies, things to avoid and anything else you want to talk and hear about. RHLR provides a voice for rural health. The only investment is your time, and our goal is to make sure you receive a huge return on your investment. For more information, visit or e-mail
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Rural Health Leadership Radio™



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Now displaying: 2018
Mar 20, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Evalyn Ormand, CEO at Union General Hospital in Farmerville, LA.  Farmerville is in the northeast part of Louisiana, about 25 miles from the Arkansas border.  This year marks Evalyn’s 40th year in healthcare administration.  During those 40 years, she has served two rural hospitals, approximately 20 miles apart. 

“Don’t swallow a camel and gag on a gnat.” 

The first hospital she started her career was at Shirlington Memorial Hospital in Shirlington, LA.  Shirlington Memorial was started in the ’60s by a physician and his wife who was an RN.  They worked together until he died unexpectedly.  Their two sons returned after his death and one took over the hospital as the administrator, the other was the doctor.  They hired Evalyn to work in administration. 

Evalyn started her journey as an administrative assistant, bookkeeper, payroll clerk, insurance clerk and any other job that he needed to be done. There were two women in administration, Evalyn and another, and they ran the entire business office. 

Ten years later, Evalyn was promoted to CEO.  

Shirlington Memorial was taken over by a larger facility who then asked Evalyn if she would consider filling the position as CEO for both Shirlington Memorial and Union General.  For over seven years, she would spend the morning at one hospital and the afternoon in the other hospital.  Shirlington Memorial ended up closing, and Evalyn has been CEO of Union General for the past 25 years. 

Mar 13, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Dr. Burke Kline, CEO of Greeley County Health Services in Tribune, Kansas.  Tribune is a town with a population of 750 in a county with a population of 1,200, one of the least populated counties in the state of Kansas, located on the Kansas/Colorado border.

“Verbal judo is a practice that’s taught to law enforcement. 
It’s a way of listening, relating and responding.” 

Burke has over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry, primarily working at Pawnee County Memorial Hospital and Rural Health Clinic (PCMH), located in Pawnee City, NE, in a number of managerial roles and as Associate Administrator. He gained front-line healthcare experience working in a variety of roles within health care including as a certified nurse aide and a certified medication aide in the Long Term Care setting early in his career.

Dr. Kline holds a Master’s Degree from Bellevue University in Healthcare Administration and a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration from Walden University.

Prior to his health care administrative roles, Burke served as a Deputy Sheriff for 8.5 years, as a Deputy Sheriff, he filled many roles including K-9 Handler, SWAT team leader and Commander of the Major Crimes Unit for the Gage County Sheriff’s Office.

Dr. Kline and his wife, Andrea, a nurse, have two daughters: Ellie, age 7, and Katelyn, age 5, who enjoy horse riding and playing sports.

Mar 6, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Corie Kaiser, the Director of the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health.  Corie joined the Office of Rural Health in 2005.  Since that time, she has maintained the office’s community engagement programs as well as coordinated and maintained quality and performance improvement and financial programs to assist critical access hospitals.   

“We had three critical access hospitals convert to critical access hospital status in 2016…” 

Corie received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Science with an emphasis in healthcare administration from Oklahoma State University.   She is a member of the National Rural Health Association and currently serves as President of the Rural Health Association of Oklahoma and President-Elect of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.  

Corie is a native rural Oklahoman and currently lives in Edmond, OK, with her husband and two sons. 

Feb 27, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Joanna Hiatt Kim, Vice President of Payment Policy, with the America Hospital Association (AHA).  Joanna leads the association’s work on Medicare payment, including for inpatient and outpatient hospital care, post-acute care, and physician services.

 “That is really where leadership comes into play and where the rubber meets the road to make these strategies work.” 

Joanna came to the AHA from the United States Government Accountability Office, where she served as a Senior Health Policy Analyst.  In this role, she advised Congress on potential policy changes and conducted policy analyses on a wide range of issues, including Medicare payment policy and hospital community benefits.

Joanna is from Orlando, Florida and received both a Master’s degree in sociology and Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Stanford University.

Feb 20, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Mark Deutchman, M.D., a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  Dr. Deutchman has been involved in rural medical practice or teaching for over 35 years. He also has faculty appointments in the School of Dental Medicine and the School of Public Health.   He practiced Family Medicine in rural, southwestern Washington State for 12 years.  His first teaching position was at the University of Tennessee, Memphis where he founded an obstetrics fellowship to train rural Family Physicians in surgical obstetrics.   

“I never really connected oral health and overall health until I was here at CU.” 

For the last 23 years he has taught medical students, residents and fellows at the University of Colorado in Denver.  He is founding director of the Rural Track in the School of Medicine, a program for students who are planning a career in rural medical practice. He also serves as Executive Director of the Colorado Area Health Education Center Program Office.  In addition to an emphasis on rural physician workforce development, he is engaged in interdisciplinary training and works with programs to integrate oral health into primary care.

Feb 13, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Ryan Neville, President and CEO at Memorial Medical Center in Neillsville, WI.  Ryan was hired as President and CEO of Memorial Medical Center in 2014.  

Becoming part of an ACO has had an impact on how we think about patient care for all our patients, not just our Medicare population. 

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Ryan holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, OH, and an MBA from Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio.  He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives,  

Ryan currently holds board seats on the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, Memorial Medical Center Foundation Board, Clark County Economic Development Council, Countryview HUD Apartment Center, member of the Leadership Council for healthTide, served  on the WI state advisory committee for trauma level 3 and 4 designations, member of Health Partners with Clark County Public Health and is current President Elect for the Wisconsin American College of Healthcare Executives Board of Directors (ACHE).    

Ryan has been awarded the 2006 Ohio Hospital Association Healthcare Worker of the Year and 2014 American College of Healthcare Executives Wisconsin Regent’s Award for Early Careerist.   

He is passionate about improving and advancing healthcare delivery models to gain access especially in rural environments.   

Memorial Medical Center is currently scheduled to open a new replacement hospital/clinic/nursing home in 2019. 

Feb 6, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Dr. Jim Turner, a family medicine doctor at the Cork Medical Center in Marshall, Illinois.  Dr. Turner and his wife are both third-generation residents of Marshall, a town of about 4,000 on the Illinois/Indiana border.  Dr. Turner grew up 2 blocks from where his office is today.  He is actively involved in his community and healthcare in a variety of roles.

“This is not just about medicine, this is about the economy and this is about young people getting good jobs and staying in their community.” 

Dr. Turner started his career in medicine making ambulance runs.  From there he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and his medical degree from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Jan 30, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with John Gale, M.S., Senior Research Associate with the Maine Rural Health Research Center at the University of Southern Maine. John has conducted extensive research on rural substance use and behavioral health services, the role of hospitals in addressing population and community health issues, and the development of substance use treatment, prevention, and recovery programs.

“Our communities are the solution to many of the problems we’re struggling with.”

John serves on the Boards of Trustees for the National Rural Health Association and New England Rural Health Roundtable. He is a Senior Fellow of the Health Research and Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association and recently developed a rural substance use prevention and treatment toolkit for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that is distributed internationally.

His work focuses on leveraging local health and community resources to improve the functioning of the rural healthcare infrastructure.

Prior to joining the Maine Rural Health Research Center, John managed large primary care and multi-disciplinary behavioral health group practices.

Jan 23, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Maggie Elehwany, JD, Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy with the National Rural Health Association.  Maggie joined the NRHA staff in 2007 as the head lobbyist for the association and is responsible for the Government Affairs and Policy department.

As Senator Chuck Schumer said at a recent meeting, “If we’ve learned nothing from the last election [meaning the election of Donald Trump] it’s that we can’t listen enough to rural America.”

Maggie has over 20 years of federal legislative experience. She previously served as health counsel to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and to U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, where she worked on comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid legislation. Maggie also served as counsel to former U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Bob Packwood. From 1999 to 2005, she served as assistant director of congressional affairs for the American Medical Association, where she advocated on patient and physician issues.

Maggie grew up in a small town in Oregon, Cottage Grove, which has a small hospital.  Growing up in Oregon, where many parts of the state are still rural, even frontier, provided Maggie with an appreciation of the challenges rural health leaders face.  When she started working in healthcare for different senators, she had the opportunity to work for two different senators from the state of Alaska.  That experience provided an even greater appreciation for the issues rural health providers face.  When you layer the complications of being in rural and/or frontier America, and on top of that, consider the vastness of a state like Alaska, simply getting to a healthcare center is a challenge. In Alaska, quite often, the only way one can access healthcare is by air or boat. This helps one realize how just accessing care is so tremendously important and really is the lifeline to communities.

Maggie earned a J.D. from the University of Oregon and a B.A. from Oregon State University.

Jan 16, 2018

Marty Fattig is the CEO of Nemaha County Hospital in Auburn, Nebraska.  Marty has been involved in healthcare for over 35 years.  He began his career as a bench Medical Technologist and expanded his technical skills to include radiology and electrocardiology.  Later on, he entered the field of healthcare administration and has served in various capacities including Laboratory Manager, Director of Ancillary Services and hospital CEO.  He has also served as a laboratory consultant and computer systems manager for a regional reference laboratory. 

“We want to be held to a higher standard.”

Marty is Co-chairman of the Nebraska eHealth Council, Vice President of the Region 2 Trauma Advisory Board, Chair-Elect of the Nebraska Hospital Association, serves on the executive board of the Mid-America Hospital Alliance and is the Chairman of the Rural Health Advisory Commission.  He is a member of the Critical Access Hospital Advisory Council, and the Critical Access Hospital Advisory Board on Quality.  He also serves as a member of the HIT Policy Committee Meaningful Use Workgroup, being appointed by the Office of the National Coordinator.  He was recently accepted as a Health IT Fellow with the ONC and a Fellow with the Rural Futures Institute.

Mary holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration.

Jan 9, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Bill Sexton, the Chief Executive Officer at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.  Bill is a board-certified Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University.  In 2006 he served as president of the National Rural Health Association and continues to serve as the chair of its subsidiary, Services Corporation.  Bill is also a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.

“We proposed a plan for the Rural Hospital Flexibility Act and took it to Capitol Hill.” 

Growing up, Bill never spent more than 4 years in any one location. The one constant for Bill was the small rural community in Central Illinois where his grandparents lived. Most of Bill’s relatives lived in small communities and he liked the fact that everyone knew each other and talked about who lived in that house rather than the address. When his father retired, his family moved to a rural community and lived across the road from a farm. His first year of college, Bill lived in an agricultural fraternity because it was student housing.  Living there he made some really good friends and developed a strong respect and admiration for the farmers which he still holds today.

The son of an Air Force officer, Bill entered the Air Force after college and started his military life as a radio relay repairman, working in microwave communications. Since he had a Bachelor’s Degree, he enrolled in a weekend Master’s program along with a colleague who was a Medical Service Corp officer. He encouraged Bill to apply to do the same and he did.

Upon retiring from the military, Bill started all over again as the CEO of a small rural hospital in Wisconsin. At the time, the hospital was struggling for survival and its future was uncertain. After converting the hospital to a critical access hospital and building a rural health clinic, Bill left for the north coast of Oregon with another just converted critical access hospital.

With his family is in the Midwest, when a chance came to move back, Bill took it and has been in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin ever since. There Bill oversaw the construction of a replacement facility and one of the highlights of his life was having his 100-year-old mother there for the dedication ceremony.

Jan 2, 2018

This week we’re having a conversation with Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild, Associate Executive Director and Chief Futurist at the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska.

A researcher, entrepreneur and high-touch futurist, Dr. Connie, helps leaders and organizations reach their desired futures through strengths-based innovation and strategic foresight. She proudly serves as the Associate Executive Director and Chief Futurist for the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska and is also the founder of Wild Innovation, a consulting and coaching firm serving organizations from both the private and public sectors.  Clients range from rural hospitals in Nebraska to remote villages in Nigeria and include a small business with a $22 million annual footprint, as well as global organizations like Lockheed Martin.

“Leadership is when a person leads their own life while bringing out the best in others and making a positive contribution to the future.”

Connie grew up in West Point, NE, with a population of about 3,000 people. While growing up, 8 of those 3,000 were immediate family members! Connie is a first-generation college student made possible through great mentoring. She has been married to an amazing man for 18 years, and they have two awesome kids and two crazy miniature wiener dogs! They enjoy living in a relaxing, rural community.