On April 27, the KVH Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to appoint Julie Petersen as chief executive officer of Kittitas Valley Healthcare. The vote concluded the two-month legal process required for appointing a superintendent to a public hospital district.
Petersen was appointed as interim chief executive officer in late June 2016. The Board of Commissioners announced its intention to hire Petersen as the permanent chief executive officer in early March 2017.
In the 10 months she acted as the interim chief executive officer, Petersen oversaw the successful conclusion of negotiations for employees represented by both unions at KVH (Teamsters and Washington State Nurses Association). In particular, Washington State Nurses Association negotiations were condensed to a six-week period. The prior negotiations lasted 27 months. Petersen has also overseen the recruitment of several new providers and has worked to increase access to care by opening all KVH clinics to new patients.
“We believe that our community will be well served by Julie Petersen’s permanent appointment,” said Liahna Armstrong, President of the KVH Board of Commissioners. “It is our conviction that there is not an individual of higher caliber or more suited to this position than Ms. Petersen. She is a proven leader in Washington rural hospital administration and we believe she will provide steadiness and progressiveness to KVH in a time of instability for healthcare organizations nationwide.”
Petersen is past chair of the Washington State Hospital Association, past chair of Washington Hospital Services, and past chair of the Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts. Before joining KVH, she acted as the CEO for PMH Medical Center in Prosser Public Hospital District for seven years and the chief financial officer for an additional nine years.
Since joining KVH, Petersen was invited by Congressman Dave Reichert to sit on his Healthcare Advisory Committee. She has also become a member of the Washington State Hospital Association Policy Committee. In addition, as a member of the American Hospital Association’s task force on ensuring access to vulnerable communities, Petersen worked with the group to issue a December 2016 report that is now considered a blueprint for advocacy and regulatory reform for healthcare providers in vulnerable communities.
Ms. Petersen’s annual salary will be $275,000. In 2015, the salaries for CEOs of comparable Washington state hospitals ranged from a low of $239,000 at Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma to a high of $311,000 at Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen.
With a permanent CEO in place, the Board looks forward to continuing work on a strategic planning process begun earlier this year to define the future direction of KVH.
A public reception will be held at the Dakota Café on Thursday, May 4, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. All are welcome to stop by to meet Julie Petersen. Light appetizers will be served.