The Board of Trustees of the Cheyenne Regional Health System announced today that Timothy Thornell has accepted the system’s chief executive officer position. The system includes the 222-bed Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and Cheyenne Regional Medical Group, the largest multi-specialty group in the state.
Thornell will bring more than 20 years of healthcare leadership experience to Cheyenne Regional when he takes the reins on April 8.
“We are extremely pleased that Tim decided to join us. He has extensive and results-based leadership experience that will help us continue our focus on providing a great patient experience and quality care,” said Jean Halpern, MD, President of Cheyenne Regional’s Board of Trustees. “Tim also has the expertise to help Cheyenne Regional evolve and adapt to our community’s needs and the ever-changing healthcare environment.”
Thornell is currently the CEO of the 113-bed Lea Regional Medical Center and the multi-specialty Lea Regional Medical Group in Hobbs, NM. He has served as the system’s CEO for more than seven years.
As CEO at LRMC, Thornell launched a new interventional cardiology program; developed an endoscopy service line; implemented an inpatient dialysis program; led the recruitment of more than 20 physicians into private and group practices; achieved the first and only accredited heart failure program in New Mexico; and achieved stroke and chest pain center accreditation for the hospital.
Thornell previously served as the chief operating officer for regional medical centers in New Mexico and Washington and as a physician practice manager overseeing operations for clinics in a four-state region. Other experience includes managing hospital orthopedic and hematology/oncology/infusion service lines and managing a medical clinic in California.
As Cheyenne Regional’s CEO, Thornell will report to both the Cheyenne Regional Board of Trustees and UCHealth, as part of the management services agreement between the two health systems.
“We are thrilled to welcome Tim Thornell to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center as part of the management services agreement with UCHealth,” said Kevin Unger, President and CEO of UCHealth’s Northern Region. “Tim’s more than 20 years of experience, depth of knowledge and energy will enhance Cheyenne Regional’s strong existing leadership team, the system’s focus on the local community and the vision of Cheyenne Regional as providing the most trusted healthcare with an inspired and personal touch. We look forward to supporting Tim as he begins to integrate into the Cheyenne community and Cheyenne Regional.”
Thornell holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration and is board certified in healthcare administration and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives as well as a Diplomat of American College of Medical Practice Executives. Additionally, he serves as a board member with the New Mexico Hospital Association and the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County and is a member of the Hobbs Rotary Club.
“I was so impressed with Cheyenne Regional and the many advancements and innovations that are taking place there. It is obvious to me how much the leaders, physicians and employees care about their patients and the work they are doing to inspire the community to achieve better health,” Thornell said. “I’m really looking forward to getting to know the physicians and employees at Cheyenne Regional and to hear how I can best serve them, our patients and the region. I very much look forward to becoming an active part of the community. I believe that the greatest success lies where community needs and business needs intersect. Community involvement and civic engagement are a vital part of moving any health system forward.”
Patrick Madigan, who was appointed as Cheyenne Regional’s interim CEO in June 2016 and as the permanent CEO in June 2018, will remain on staff during the transition. Madigan had previously served more than five years on Cheyenne Regional’s Board of Trustees, including one year as the Board president.
Cheyenne Regional’s Board of Trustees has been engaged in a formal nationwide search for a new CEO for the past several months. Interviews of the top two candidates were conducted by a search committee made up of Cheyenne Regional trustees, physicians, a county commissioner, representatives of the Cheyenne Regional Foundation and a UCHealth representative. The two finalists, both from outside the health system, visited Cheyenne Regional and the community in January. They were interviewed by the search committee and also had an opportunity to interact with Cheyenne Regional physicians, executives and employees.
The finalists were chosen from an initial pool of approximately 91 applicants.
The trustees’ vote to offer the appointment to Thornell was held in an open session on January 30, 2019.