Thursday, 30 May 2024

Leadership changes under way at St. Helena Hospital Clearlake

JoAline Olson, president and CEO of St. Helena Hospital Clearlake and St. Helena Hospital in Napa County (left), is taking a new position with Adventist Health. She'll be succeeded by Terry Newmyer. Courtesy photos.



CLEARLAKE – A leadership transition is taking place at St. Helena Hospital Clearlake, as the current new president and chief executive officer leaves to take a new position and her successor prepares to come on board.

After nearly three years as the hospital's president and CEO, JoAline Olson is moving on to a new position. However, she is staying with the parent health care system, Adventist Health, as vice president of clinical innovation.

"We are pleased that JoAline has accepted this new position for the Adventist Health system," Scott Reiner, senior vice president of Adventist Health, said in a written statement. "Her past experience as both a patient care executive and president/CEO will bring a wealth of insight and expertise as we redesign the patient experience and leverage our Adventist heritage of health and wellness.”

Succeeding her in Clearlake will be Terry Newmyer, who also will lead the hospital's sister facilities, St. Helena Hospital in Napa County and the St. Helena Center for Behavioral Health in Vallejo.

Newmyer has held key roles at Florida Hospital in Orlando, the largest hospital in the country.

He led a $100 million campaign while serving as chief development officer of the hospital foundation and secured alliances worth over $90 million with companies such as Walt Disney World, GE, Philips and Nike as the hospital's senior vice president for business development.

"Terry is a very dedicated leader who has demonstrated a real passion for high-quality, mission-driven health care,” said Reiner. “He brings a diversified portfolio of experience in areas of growth and development.”

The leadership change takes effect in early February, according to Adventist Health.

Olson told Lake County News that Adventist Health timed the start time of her new job to coincide with Newmyer's hire.

As vice president of clinical innovation, Olson said she'll be based in St. Helena. "With my new position I can kind of work anywhere."

She said Adventist Health has asked her to work on completing new innovations at St. Helena Hospital that can be replicated at the Clearlake hospital and other Adventist Health facilities.

"Clearlake will always be part of the scope of what I'm looking at," she said.

Some of the innovations she'll work on include wellness and lifestyle programs currently being developed at the St. Helena Center for Health, and a high quality patient experience that focuses on individualized care.

That patient experience effort, Olson said, is one of the things Adventist Health is focusing on for the new emergency department being built in Clearlake.

She'll also oversee the new Martin O'Neil Cancer Center, and lead a systemwide effort to improve philanthropic efforts at all 18 Adventist Health hospitals.

Olson has been with St. Helena Hospital in several leadership roles for 20 years, with 11 of those spent as president and CEO. During her tenure St. Helena Hospital achieved status as one of the nation’s Top 100 Heart Hospitals and earned many awards for quality, patient and physician satisfaction.

She led the funding and construction of the first comprehensive cancer treatment center in the North Bay, which will open this fall on the St. Helena Hospital campus in Napa County and serve residents of Lake County and beyond, Adventist Health reported.

Olson was in charge of the effort to combine the leadership of St. Helena Hospital Clearlake with the Napa County hospital, which Adventist Health said was done in order to maximize resources and improve services and care for Lake County residents.

“It's the best of all worlds now because one can have some autonomy, which is always fun as a leader,” she said; at the same time, the two rural hospitals' leadership can contribute to strategy and take advantage of the larger organization's resources.

In Lake County in particular Olson oversaw a $10 million investment in facilities.

Among them is the new emergency department, set to double the size of the old one, with construction to begin in April; remodeling the hospital's surgery suites and front entrance; a new family health center in Kelseyville that opens in March; and building a multi-specialty medical office in Hidden Valley Lake.

She called the Hidden Valley Lake office “a wild success.” It now features a full-time internal medicine physician and is getting busier every day. Visiting specialists host clinics on a regular basis; they may see as many as 25 patients a day.

“Our goal has been to bring additional health care services to the Lake County communities, and we've succeeded in Hidden Valley, we've succeeded in Clearlake and now Kelseyville will have a brand new clinic,” said Olson.

Newmyer will bring new perspectives to the Napa and Lake County hospitals, said Olson. “One of our objectives is to have more horsepower here instead of less.”

She's confident of a good transition at the Clearlake campus, thanks to Linda Gibson, senior vice president of operations, who she said is very good at patient care and quality.

Olson admitted that there has been a lot of change at St. Helena Hospital Clearlake in the last few years, from name changes and construction to new faces.

Prior to her tenure, there were two interim CEOs who followed Kendall Fults at the hospital's helm. Fults left in 2006 and now works at another Adventist Health hospital, Central Valley General, where he is senior vice president of clinical operations.

Despite the county's economic troubles, health care is still hiring current positions but not adding many new ones, said Olson.

She said she just received a memo from the California Hospital Association, which noted that health care is seeing a definite impact due to the economy.

“The ability to borrow money has hit health care just like it's hit everywhere else,” said Olson.

That's caused some health care organizations to put capital projects on hold, which hasn't been the case for Adventist Health. Any projects current under way are continuing, but new ones aren't being approved.

If the economy worsens, the question will be how that affects people's use of the health care system, Olson explained.

She said they've already seen a small downturn in usage of the emergency department, as well as people waiting for elective surgeries. “It all ripples.”

Olson said she has enjoyed working with her staff, governing board and committees and witnessing their enthusiasm for health care.

“My greatest personal and professional satisfaction is really being able to see firsthand the care and the compassion and the commitment that the professionals have for the community of Clearlake and also for St. Helena Hospital Clearlake,” she said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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