Heartland Community Health Center announces a second interim CEO

photo by: Ashley Hocking

The entrance to Heartland Community Health Center, 346 Maine St., Suite 150, is shown Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

Story updated at 5:17 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27:

Heartland Community Health Center on Tuesday announced a new interim CEO, Julie Boden Schmidt, as it continues the search for a permanent leader.

According to a news release from the Lawrence safety net clinic, Schmidt served at the National Association of Community Health Centers in the Washington, D.C., area for eight years, leading its Training and Technical Assistance Department; prior to that she led a federally qualified health center in New York, and she has “been in health center leadership since 1983.” She joined the organization Monday, according to the release.

Heartland’s announcement comes eight months after its board of directors announced it had voted unanimously to suspend longtime CEO Jon Stewart in March. The exact circumstances of the suspension have never been clarified to the Journal-World, but Board Chair James Pavisian said that accounting firm BKD would conduct a forensic review of the organization’s finances. The March news release said further information would be provided at the conclusion of that review; however, that information has never been provided.

At that time, then-Chief Operating Officer Allie Nicholson stepped in to serve as interim CEO, and according to Heartland’s Tuesday news release, she has served in that position since. However, asked in June, neither Heartland spokeswoman Melanie Coen nor Pavisian would confirm that Nicholson was still serving as interim CEO.

Pavisian then directed questions to attorney Sean Sturdivan, a partner in the Overland Park law firm Sanders Warren Russell & Scheer LLP, who never responded to emails or phone messages from the Journal-World.

Nicholson will resume her duties as COO, according to the release.

“Under Nicholson, the organization continued to grow with new providers and care teams, resulting in expanded capacity for primary care service to the community,” the release said.

In the release, Nicholson said Schmidt is an experienced health care administrator who has a history of successful interim and transition work.

“There is no doubt that, during her time with us, Julie will have a meaningful impact on our organization and the community,” Nicholson said in the release.

Coen said she had forwarded the Journal-World’s follow-up questions to Heartland’s board president and vice president, but those questions were not answered as of Tuesday evening.

Related coverage

• June 19, 2018 — Here’s what we know about Heartland Community Health Center and its CEO situation; leadership is mum

• June 11, 2018 — After suspending leader earlier this spring, Heartland Community Health Center seeks new CEO

• March 15, 2018 — Nonprofit health care clinic CEO ‘shocked and dismayed’ by suspension

• March 14, 2018 — Heartland Community Health Center suspends CEO pending review of business records

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