West River, CEO honored

Hospital again named a top 20 critical access facility

For the fourth time in five years, West River Health Services was recognized as a top 20 critical access hospital.

Record Editor

West River Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shahan was in Kansas City, MO. the week of Sept. 25 to accept the award on behalf of the facility. The event—the National Rural Health Association annual conference—was held in conjunction with the work of Becker’s Healthcare organization, which recognizes the top facilities in the country. Shahan said Becker’s is really at the forefront of news and information in regards to healthcare.

“Really if there’s something going on in the pulse of healthcare, Becker’s is one of the primary sources of information for us to followup on,” Shahan said. “[The convention is] sort of to highlight the people who are out there in healthcare,” he said.

Each year, Becker’s takes 100 hospitals, and analyzes each facility and based on some scoring system they employ, recognize the top 20.

Shahan didn’t want to underscore the value of the hospital, because it is really about how the whole organization operates that earns them the recognition.

“It is really a reflection of all the work that starts at the clinics, the reception, house keeping, there’s so much that goes into these scores that they base these awards on,” he said. “There’s not a single person within our organization that somehow didn’t have an impact on that.”

Two other facilities in North Dakota were also recognized in the top 20, St. Luke’s in Crosby, and CHI Carrington.

Shahan himself also took home some recognition.

Along with West River’s top 20 honor, Shahan was distinguished as a top 60 CEO.

In a press release, Becker’s said that “The men and women included on this list are at the helm of organizations regularly recognized for safety and quality. Many led their hospitals through expansions, mergers and EHR implementations. The individuals on this list are also key members of the community, serving on corporate boards and state-level initiatives to improve access to care.”

Shahan, who took over as CEO in April 2016 from the retiring Jim Long, previously worked as director of IT, clinic administrator, and the head of strategic planning at Glendale Medical Center (Montana).

“It’s really a neat thing for me I guess to be recognized by Becker’s and from something else based on [West River’s success],” Shahan said.

He also told the Record that it was more of a fortunate situation for himself to get this honor that’s really based on the work that the staff puts in.

Shahan said he was happy with the honors, but says patients returning for their care is a better display of how West River Health Services is performing.

“We’re very excited about it,” he said. “But in the end if we’re providing good patient care, and not winning awards, we would take that all the same. Being recognized for all the work we do is exciting, it’s very uplifting for our staff. But we believe and we know that we’re providing good, quality care on a daily basis, our patients showing back up to get that care is all we need to tell us that we’re right.”