Shull begins work as new CEO of St. Lukes Hospital

Published 3:40 pm Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kenneth A. Ken Shull, the new Chief Executive Officer for St. Lukes Hospital, begins his new assignment this week, spending the first few days in orientation.

Shull was named the hospitals new President and CEO in late October, after the Board of Trustees conducted a nationwide search to replace Cameron Highsmith, who accepted a position with Bladen County Hospital.

Shull brings to St. Lukes more than 30 years of healthcare experience in both North and South Carolina, including chief executive roles at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, Lexington Medical Center, Stanly Memorial Hospital and Cannon Memorial Hospital.

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With his past experience at a hospital similar in size to St. Lukes, Shull said he is looking forward to new challenges and integrating into a new community, meeting the medical staff, hospital staff and citizens who depend on St. Lukes Hospital for their medical care.

All hospitals are under stress and struggling in these economic times, Shull said, But leading a small community hospital takes a different way of thinking as we work to insure were providing the healthcare services people need. St. Lukes is an asset, a resource for the community, and we want and need the communitys support.

Shull expects hell spend significant time reaching out and developing relationships within the community and within the hospital and medical staff. He intends to continue the current focus on transparency and open communications with the medical community, Polk County leaders and the general public.

Ive been extremely impressed with the commitment of the Board, Shull said, and I look forward to working with the Trustees as we address the needs of the hospital and of the community.

A former Captain of the United States Air Force, Shull brings a wealth of professional experience to St. Lukes Hospital. His background includes eight years as president of the South Carolina Hospital Association and a list of professional activities that includes policy development, hospital standards review, organizing a free clinic association and raising more than $2.5 million for operations, as well as providing counsel on healthcare issues for members of the state legislature.

During his healthcare career, Shull has served as chairman of the Hospital Advisory Council for The Joint Commission, the nations largest hospital accrediting agency. In addition, he served as chairman of the Governing Council of the Section for Small and Rural Hospitals of the American Hospital Association.

In 2006, he was awarded the American College of Healthcare Executives Regents Award. Shull also received Distinguished Service awards from both the North Carolina and South Carolina Hospital Associations.

Shull earned a Master of Hospital Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Southern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Denison University.

A four-year resident of Highlands where he was active in his church and a member of the Rotary Club, Shull is certain to be actively involved in Polk County. He and his wife, Heidi, have two adult children and four grandchildren, with another on the way. He looks forward to being closer to his children and their families in North Carolina and Virginia.

As the new CEO of St. Lukes Hospital, Shull joins the executive management team of Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) of Charlotte, which has provided management assistance, contract negotiations and purchasing power to the small community hospital since last summer.

Upon relocating to Polk County, Shull will lead the 25-bed critical access hospital and acute medical services that include 24-hour emergency care, advanced orthopaedic and general surgical procedures, a hyperbaric and wound care center, geriatric-psychiatric inpatient care, and newly updated diagnostic imaging services with digital mammography, 16-slice CT capabilities and expanded MRI services.

Ten members of the St. Lukes Hospital Board of Trustees served on the search committee and spent numerous hours of thoughtful deliberation to ensure their selection would bring the leadership experience and strategic development that St. Lukes needs to move the hospital to a higher level of service to the community.

The Board, Administration and Staff of St. Lukes Hospital&bsp; say they express sincere and deep appreciation to Alex Bell, who served St. Lukes Hospital as interim CEO while the Board worked diligently during the search process.

Managing the daily operations of St. Lukes Hospital since April, Bell will assure a smooth transition with Shull before transferring back to his position as Vice President of Support Services for Cleveland County Healthcare System.

Bell will be recognized for his service to St. Lukes during a Drop-In Thursday, December 3, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the hospital board room. The community is invited.