Petersburg Medical Center has hired Phil Hofstetter as the new CEO to start in June. He is Vice President at Norton Sound Health Corporation in Nome. He’s been in health care for 25 years. (Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK)

The Petersburg Medical Center will soon have a new CEO. The board has decided to hire Phil Hofstetter of Nome to take the reins this summer.
KFSK’s Angela Denning reports:

Phil Hofstetter is currently the Vice President at Norton Sound Health Corporation. He’s been in healthcare for 25 years, 20 of those in Nome. He’s 45 years old. As PMC’s new CEO, he will be leading a staff of around 116 employees in an outpatient clinic, long term care wing, therapy department, lab and emergency room.

In Nome, Hofstetter leads 37 departments and says he expects his managers to be collaborative.

“I always lead by example but collaboration and teamwork is definitely at the core element of expectation of managers,” Hofstetter said. “I do not micromanage but I also hold managers accountable for what they’re supposed to do. So, you have to have a balance of both.”

Hofstetter was speaking during a question and answer session with the public when he and other CEO finalists visited Petersburg recently.

Hofstetter has his masters and doctorates degrees in audiology and says he grew into leadership positions while the Nome hospital was being rebuilt from 2010 to 2012.

“I kind of grew into administration,” Hofstetter said. “It’s not something I went to school for. It is definitely not something I thought I would go into. But we had an old facility in Nome and we had a new facility that was being built. And that transition, going from old to new, I was heavily involved and ended up going into leadership positions because of need.”

One of the biggest challenges facing the new CEO will be whether to remodel or replace Petersburg’s aging medical center building. After touring the local hospital Hofstetter says the life expectancy of the facility will soon be reaching a crisis point.

“This gives me a little PTSD because I’ve gone through this with an old facility with a new facility,” Hofstetter said, laughing. “And I can tell you, you don’t want to wait for a crisis point for this, you don’t want to shut down because really the funding will go away. So, it is a tough conversation as a community that you’re doing to have to have whether to remodel or whether to build.”

Hofstetter is a licensed long-term care nursing home administrator. He supports in-home care because he says it can be traumatic when someone moves into a nursing home.

“It’s not a reflection on the facility, it’s just really hard to uproot and take somebody out of the home and put them in an unknown environment,” Hofstetter said. “Home health to me is… what we’re trying to look for is a way we can adopt a long term care staffing model and not necessarily get the accreditation or regulation of home health but make it part of a continuum of care, using existing staff like CNAs or something along those lines. Trying different models and approaches of using either a home visit program or something where you have home health or CNAs in the home helping families.”

Hofstetter also has experience with Sexual Assault Response Teams. He oversees Nome’s SART team as the administrator of hospital services. He says the nurses there work with law enforcement and tribal groups and conduct most of the SART work at an off-site facility.

Hofstetter is a self-proclaimed hard worker. But when he’s not working, he’s no couch potato. In the past decade, he has competed in several extreme cross country bicycle races. He’s crossed the state of Alaska several times on a fat-tire bike in the 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational. He has won the race twice and placed 5th this year.

He says he loves to support his wife, Sarah, who is a singer song-writer and artist. After meeting her, he says he learned to play the mandolin.

“Now we play music often,” he said. “I love playing mandolin with her.”

Hofstetter will be replaying current CEO, Liz Woodyard, who is retiring at the end of June. He has signed a four year contract with an annual salary of $185,000. He will be bringing his wife, Sarah, and their two grade school aged children to Petersburg.