|
|
Examiner
  • Centerpoint CEO leaving to take job in California

  • Carolyn Caldwell, who has been president and CEO of Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence since shortly after it opened in 2007, is leaving, a taking a similar position at a larger hospital in Palm Springs, Calif.

    • email print
  • One after another, friends, associates and co-workers took their turns for a handshake, a hug and a minute or two to visit.
    Carolyn Caldwell, who has been president and CEO of Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence since shortly after it opened in 2007, is leaving, a taking a similar position at a larger hospital in Palm Springs, Calif.
    “I going to miss her dearly. She was fabulous,” local attorney Steve Mauer, who is chairman of Centerpoint’s board, said during Thursday afternoon’s farewell reception.
    “I was just blown away at how I was embraced by this community,” Caldwell said.
    Caldwell came to the metro area from Dallas, were she was chief operating officer at HCA’s Dallas Southwest Medical Center and then its interim chief executive officer. Then she was COO of the Medical Center of Arlington. She came to this area as CEO of Lee’s Summit Medical Center, overseeing construction of its $85 million facility.
    Centerpoint opened in May 2007, replacing the Medical Center of Independence and Independence Regional Health Center. Caldwell was named CEO that October.
    Among the challenges at that time was blending the cultures of the two old hospitals into one.
    “That was our focus – we are Centerpoint,” she said.
    Mauer said that blending was a major challenge. He said Caldwell’s approach was to get everyone to focus on getting better every day.
    “She’s really, really done a phenomenal job,” he said.
    It’s not just that Caldwell had to manage change at Centerpoint.
    “In any industry, things are always changing,” she said. “You have to be able to embrace that.”
    It is vital, she said, to listen to patients, doctors and employees.
    “I learn something every day,” she said.
     “This is a bittersweet thing. ... Carolyn has done so much for Centerpoint, so much for this community so much for Kansas City,” said her boss, Mel Lagarde, president of HCA Midwest Health System.
    The company will start a search process and hope to name a new president and CEO within two or three months, he said. That will mean a lot of work for Centerpoint’s board.
    “The board here ultimately has to approve the selection of the CEO,” Lagarde said.
    Mauer said Centerpoint has several advantages that will make it attractive to prospective new CEOs. It’s relatively new, it’s large, and it’s built a good reputation, to the point that it’s the place where doctors want to be. HCA, he said, has put a great deal of money into the facility.
    “If there’s a new machine that’s coming on board, we get it,” he said.
    Caldwell’s last day at Centerpoint is Sept. 30. She is leaving for a larger hospital in Palm Springs, one associated with a medical school, and she said that prospect is exciting.
    Page 2 of 2 - She also has been elected to a three-year term on the board of trustees of the American Hospital Association. That’s the policy-making arm of the AHA.
    “It’s quite an honor,” she said.
      • calendar