Head of Memorial Hospital set to retire

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comJanuary 10, 2014 

— The top administrator of Memorial Hospital, Los Banos, has announced his retirement, and a replacement has been selected.

Rick Liszewski will step down March 14 as chief executive officer, a position he has held for eight years.

“It’s based on age, looking down the road to enjoy a certain level of retirement in health,” said Rick Liszewski. “We get too old, we’re susceptible for various diseases and infirmities.

“Plus, there’s a sense we are starting some journeys here; we’re trying to employ lean management,” said Liszewski, 64. “It’s a cultural change that will take a group of years, and I didn’t want to get started (and) then leave it.”

Dr. Ash Gokli has been appointed the new chief executive, according to a news release from Sutter Health Central Valley Region. Gokli will remain in his current role as Central Valley Region chief medical officer and split his time between the two jobs.

Liszewski, an Air Force veteran and graduate of its Medical Science Corps, began at Sutter Health in 1998 as site administrator of California Pacific Medical Center - Davies Campus. In 2006, he became the top administrator at Memorial Hospital, Los Banos.

During his tenure, Liszewski dealt with a reduction in beds in 2008 and staff layoffs in 2012. He counts the 2012 Hospitalist Program, which provides immediate follow-up care to emergency room patients without a regular physician, and increasing cardiac care among his accomplishments at Memorial Hospital.

“I think we’ve made significant progress in delivering higher quality services and (increasing) patient satisfaction,” Liszewski said. “We are the only hospital within 35 miles, so it’s important that we can deliver services to the population. If you’re hurting or need some hospital services, that 35 miles to get to the nearest facility is untenable.”

In the news release announcing the change, David P. Benn, president of Sutter Health Central Valley Region, commended Liszewski on his achievements at the Los Banos hospital.

“Sutter Health has recognized the need to further develop physicians as leaders within our organization,” said Benn, in announcing Ash’s promotion in the news release. “This, combined with Ash’s desire to take on more operational responsibility, provides an ideal opportunity for both Ash and the Central Valley Region.

“Rick supported his employees and medical staff and enabled them to provide the highest level of care possible to the patients of Los Banos by implementing the Sutter electronic health records, creating a hospitalist program, starting a telestroke program and contracting with cardiologists to provide 24/7 cardiac coverage to the community,” Benn recounted.

Liszewski said he and his wife plan to travel to some of the places at which he was stationed during his years in the military

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