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Archive for Thursday, September 17, 1998

HOSPITAL TAPS ADMINISTRATOR TO OVERSEE CLINICAL DEPARTMENTS

September 17, 1998

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Lawrence Memorial Hospital is joined by a new clinical administrator.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital president and CEO Gene Meyer has brought another new face to the hospital administration.

Bonnie Peterson, senior vice president and chief operating officer, attended her first LMH board meeting Wednesday. She will be paid $110,000 a year to oversee the hospital's clinical departments, the departments directly concerned with patient care.

Peterson, 55, comes to Lawrence from Milwaukee, where she spent two years as vice president of patient care services at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

To make room for Peterson, Mindy Mitchell, former vice president of nursing at LMH, was removed from the administration. She will remain in nursing management with the hospital.

Robert Trepinski, former vice president and chief operating officer, is now vice president over support services. In his former role, Trepinski had overseen support services such as housekeeping, maintenance and construction as well as some clinical departments.

The staffing change makes for a more unified approach to the care side of the hospital, Meyer said.

``It also helps us direct people's talents to the areas and projects they are well suited for,'' he said.

Meyer said he talked with a number of people about the position he had in mind and he was glad to get Peterson.

The two had worked together in Kansas City, Mo., when he was with St. Luke's Hospital and she was with Children's Mercy Hospital.

The respect is mutual.

``It's a real honor for me to work with him,'' Peterson said.

For Peterson, the new job is a chance to return to the Kansas City area.

``This is home,'' she said.

Peterson received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the Kansas University School of Medicine.

Prior to moving to Wisconsin, Peterson held administrative positions at Trinity Lutheran Hospital and Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

In 1991, she was honored as Nurse Administrator of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Area Hospital Assn.

Peterson said she hopes her Kansas City connections will help LMH cooperate with the hospitals there.

She said she hopes to encourage cooperation as well within the staff of LMH.

Peterson is in her second week and said she is still getting acquainted with the people and the facility and didn't have specific changes in mind.

But she said the medical world is continually changing, and it is her job to help the LMH staff embrace rather than fear that change.

``There is no road map to the future,'' she said. ``We're really trying to think of creative ways to be ahead of the challenges.''

Since taking over LMH 15 months ago, Meyer has changed all but one of the hospital's five administrators. He has yet to appoint a new chief financial officer after deciding to replace Dennis Strathmann, who had held the position for 17 years.

Strathmann's last day was in July. He is being paid as a consultant until February. Meyer said he had talked to eight candidates on the phone and plans to bring four people to Lawrence for interviews. He said he intends to have a decision within the next month.

-- Kendrick Blackwood's phone message number is 832-7221. His e-mail address is kblackwood@ljworld.com.

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