BRANDNER RETIRING; FRHS LOOKING FOR NEW CEO
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
Freeman Regional Health Services Board of Directors is in the process of looking for a new Chief Executive Officer following the decision by current CEO Nick Brandner to retire.
Brandner’s final day on the job will be Friday, Nov. 20, according to a press release issued by FRHS late last week. Until his replacement can be found, Chief Nursing Officer Courtney Unruh and Chief Finance Officer Phil Husher will fulfill Brandner’s duties and co-lead the health care system. Both “bring many years of experience in both the clinical and business sectors of the organization,” the press release noted.
Brandner came on board in an interim capacity in January of 2015 following the resignation of Dan Gran, who had led Freeman’s health care system since 2000. In April of 2015 he accepted an invitation to remain CEO in a permanent capacity.
In a letter to Lori Uecker, chair of the FRHS Board, Brandner wrote: “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the CEO/administrator of Freeman Regional Health Services for the past five-and-a-half years. We have developed an outstanding team that I know will continue to excel as you move forward with the building project and the new relationship with Avera.”
To the staff, he wrote to Uecker, “it has been an honor and privilege to serve as your CEO … The team that we have developed here is nothing short of outstanding. No matter who is chosen to replace me, I am confident that the tremendous board, providers, leadership team and staff here at FRHS will assure a very successful future.”
The press release further notes:
“Brandner started his career as a registered nurse in orthopedics and intensive care at St. Luke’s Hospital in Aberdeen. After obtaining his master of public health and hospital administration and master of business administration degrees from the University of Missouri, Brandner spent 20 years working at Bismarck Hospital/Medcenter One in Bismarck, N.D. This employment offered a unique opportunity that permitted him to supervise all of the medical center areas, since departmental oversite was rotated every three to five years. Brandner utilized this role to spearhead his team building and collaboration initiatives, a focus that he emphasized throughout his entire career.
“Brandner subsequently spent eight years working for Catholic Health Initiatives. He first served as the vice president of patient care at St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre. He was later promoted to CEO at Albany Area Hospital in Albany, Minn. Brandner later served as the administrator at the Redfield hospital prior to taking the CEO position at FRHS.”
Since taking the top leadership position, the press release said, “Brandner has steered initiatives that have not only sustained but also grown FRHS into one of the premier rural hospitals in the region. He has built a team that he describes as, ‘one of the best that I have worked with in my 44-year career.’”