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Dr. Jeff Kepple poses with the North Fork Clinic staff Oct. 22, one day before his last day on campus as the hospital’s chief executive officer. Kepple spent part of the day visiting with staff throughout the clinics and hospital. Photo submitted

Staff gives Kepple a sendoff as he steps down as PDH CEO

Dr. Jeff Kepple stepped down from his position as CEO of the Plumas Hospital District last week, and his staff wanted to express their appreciation for his four years of service.

Employees organized a “progressive” event for Kepple, where he visited buildings on the campus Oct. 22, the day before his final day in the office.

Each building selected a theme and decorated accordingly based on an important facet of Kepple’s personal life: North Fork, music; Quincy Family Medicine, mountain biking; hospital, fishing; dental, backpacking; and administration, reading.

He visited with staff, answered questions, shared some treats and received various gifts.

Kepple said that he enjoyed the visits with staff. “They had a lot of questions about the transition as well as my plans for the future,” he said.

New CEO JoDee Tittle, who is relocating from Oregon, will assume her duties after Thanksgiving. Until then, the hospital’s management council will run the day-to-day operations of the hospital and clinics, with Kepple available if necessary.

And even though he is stepping down as CEO, Kepple will continue to be a presence on campus, providing dermatology services two half-days per week.

The Oct. 22 going away celebrations and tributes were a continuation of the last board meeting, when directors thanked Kepple for his time as CEO.

“We were in a precarious position,” Dr. Mark Satterfield said of the time in 2014 when Kepple agreed to become CEO.

John Kimmel said that people make a few big decisions in life, and this was one of them for the board and for Kepple.

“We’re now pointed in the right direction,” Kimmel said. “Your efforts will be felt and seen for a long time in the future.”

Board president Valerie Flanigan lauded Kepple’s sacrifice in taking on a “thankless job.” She added, “You brought something different to the position; more of a compassionate side.”

“This is my last chance to say thank you; I am incredibly grateful to the board,” Kepple said during the meeting. He thanked the board, as well as his management team, and the entire staff of the hospital district for their support and assistance during his tenure.

He also discussed some of the lessons he learned about leadership. “What I’ve learned is that leaders have to do their very best to discern the truth,” he said and then act upon it.

“I’m happy to be leaving at a time when we’re financially sound,” he said. The district went from not being sure it could make its payroll to having $5 million in the bank.

Accomplishments

These are some of the items that Kepple and his management team have accomplished during the past four years:

– Developed a master plan for the campus facilities.

– Selected a new electronic health records system.

– Initiated the consolidation process with Indian Valley Health Care District.

– Granted employee raises.

– Completed process to become designated as a Rural Center of Excellence for U.C. Davis.

– Organized the wilderness medical conference.

– Established a partnership with Care Flight.

– Established a partnership with Allevant for transitional care.

– Purchased new equipment and furniture for the hospital and clinics.

– Spruced up the interior and exterior of the campus buildings.

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