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Southwest Health hires interim CEO

Filpi will lead Southwest Memorial Hospital during search for permanent leader

Southwest Health System has hired a new interim CEO to replace Tony Sudduth, who resigned April 16.

Jeanette Filpi was appointed April 26 to serve as interim CEO while a search continues for permanent leader of SHS, which operates Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez.

She will fill in for CFO Rick Shrader, who served as interim CEO after Sudduth’s resignation.

SHS also seeks a new chief nursing officer to replace Karen Labonte, who took another position within Community Hospital Consulting, SHS’ management firm.

Filpi was recommended for the interim position by CHC. She has a master’s degree in health administration and has 30 years of experience working for health care systems and hospitals, according to a April 29 SHS news release.

“Jeanette has hit the ground running and is meeting with all departments to get up to speed on our health system,” said Bridgett Jabour, executive assistant at SHS, on Thursday. “She is working closely with the senior leadership team.”

The news release states Filpi’s “strengths are in leadership development, physician recruitment, new program development and collaboration to further process improvement. The board is confident in Jeanette’s leadership until a permanent CEO is recruited.”

Filpi originally is from Grand Junction and lives with her husband, Gary, in Stuart, Virginia, a rural town at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They have three grown children, a son-in-law and one grandchild. In her spare time, Filpi enjoys working in her garden, helping close friends work their vineyard and winery as well as spending time with her family.

Filpi will recruit a permanent chief nursing officer. In the meantime, Chief Operating Officer Kerri White-Singleton also will serve as interim chief nursing officer.

Sudduth took over as interim CEO in April 2018 during a time of financial turmoil for SHS. He became the permanent CEO in 2019 and led a successful effort to stabilize hospital finances, which included staffing cuts, efficiency measures and forbearance negotiations. Sudduth helped to manage completion of the $32 million expansion project, which modernized and upgraded hospital services and facilities.

Sudduth also led the hospital’s effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including establishing regular testing clinics, vaccine distribution and community education. He presented frequent public reports on hospital operations and the financial recovery.

SHS has vacancies on its board. They are looking to recruit three more board members with varying backgrounds and expertise, Jabour said.

The current board includes Vice Chairperson Cody Burke, Secretary-Treasurer Dan Valverde, and directors Shirley Jones and Susan Hodgdon.

Former SHS board Chairperson Tom Rice resigned in March 2021. He joined the board in 2017, served as secretary-treasurer for one year and was appointed chair in 2018.

Interested candidates for the SHS board are asked to email Jabour at bjabour@swhealth.org.

Southwest Health System operates Southwest Memorial Hospital, a critical access hospital, and Southwest Medical Group’s six clinics providing primary and specialty care services. SHS is a private, not-for-profit corporation that leases all hospital operations from the Montezuma Hospital District Board. SHS operates under all guidelines and regulations for nonprofits and is governed by a volunteer board. For more information, visit www.swhealth.org.

The next SHS board meeting will by May 12 at 5 p.m. As a pandemic precaution, only meeting participants can attend in person. The board meeting can be viewed on the SHS-MCHD YouTube channel. The board normally meets the last Wednesday of the month.

The taxpayer-supported Montezuma County Hospital District, which owns the Southwest Memorial campus, will meet May 12 at 6 p.m. in the EMS training room. They meet the second Wednesday of every month and can be viewed on the SHS-MCHD YouTube channel.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com

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