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RANGELY — When Merrill Frank was hired as interim CEO of Rangely District Hospital in July, his primary assignment was to find his replacement.
He found his man.
Nick Goshe, director of nursing at RDH, will eventually take over as CEO of the hospital as part of a leadership transition plan.
“He will become chief operating officer,” Frank said. “Then, at some point that is mutually agreed upon, he will become CEO. The COO takes effect immediately.”
Asked about the reason for the delay in Goshe’s promotion to CEO, Frank said it was so he could grow into the position.
“He has never been a CEO, so we all agreed to leave it open-ended,” Frank said. “Our timing, obviously, is ambiguous.”
But that is by design.
“Because he has never been a CEO, the board wanted him to work with someone who had some experience,” Frank said. “There are some projects that I am working on that the board would like me to bring to conclusion. As these projects are completed, and as he (Goshe) develops … I don’t anticipate it will be beyond next spring. That will be a logical timeframe.”
Asked about the projects he is working on, Frank said, “Some of them are of a sensitive nature. I can’t talk about them now.”
Jack Rich, chairman of the hospital’s board of directors, said members are excited about the direction of the hospital and the choice for a new CEO.
“We’ve been working toward a permanent solution to our CEO needs and, ultimately, found the ideal candidate within our own ranks,” Rich said.
Soon after arriving for his second stint as CEO at Rangely District Hospital, Frank said it became apparent Goshe was the right man for the job.
“He and I have been working very closely since I got here,” Frank said. “Since I got here, it became obvious he could potentially fill the CEO position. I felt early on, and the board agreed, that a search wasn’t necessary. The decision was genuinely met with approval by the management, staff and employees of the hospital.”
Goshe has 15 years of experience in health care. He has proven himself during his time as director of nursing at RDH, Frank said.
“Nick has been managing a staff of nearly 30 employees, developing annual budgets, planning capital purchases and working extensively with me and the board,” Frank said.
“It’s not often you find a skilled individual like Nick, who has been fully vetted in our system and who has the ability to jump right into this job,” Rich said. “We could not be more pleased.”
Goshe said he and his family are happy in Rangely. Goshe and his wife, Starleen, have three children: Chloe, 5; Kiley, 4; and Seth, 1.
“ Starleen and I love the outdoors and immediately felt at home here,” Goshe said. “We were very impressed by Rangely District Hospital from the first interview. My wife has made friends in our neighborhood with children of similar ages to our own. We cannot think of a better place to live and raise our family.”
The hospital has stabilized under Frank’s leadership. When he came on board, the hospital’s management had just fired former CEO Jason McCormick, and morale was low.
“I understand there are some unhappy people,” Frank said at the time. “Obviously, I am concerned how our people feel about working here. I hope my style begins to make people feel better.”
For his part, Frank has liked being back in Rangely. He was CEO of the hospital for the first time in the late 1990s. He came out of retirement last summer to serve as interim CEO.
“We had had a nomadic existence for the last eight or nine years, traveling and doing volunteer work,” Frank said of he and his wife, Sally. “We’ve enjoyed our stay here in Rangely, and it has kind of got us hooked on having a permanent spot and settling down.”
The situation at the hospital was pretty unsettled when Frank arrived.
“There have been a couple of anxious moments,” Frank said. “But the development of a management group is meeting my expectations. The first goal the board set for me was to find them a CEO, and that is nearly accomplished.”