HERMISTON, OR – On Friday, September 27, 2019, Good Shepherd Health Care System (GSHCS) Board of Trustees announced that President & CEO Dennis E. Burke has submitted his intent to retire in 2020.
Mr. Burke will depart with a tenure of 31 years at the helm. He was deemed one of the nation’s “50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know” by Becker’s Hospital Review in 2016, an accolade that easily suits him. Over the past three decades, Mr. Burke has remained a steward of the health care system’s mission and values, while successfully navigating the ever-changing healthcare landscape with poised leadership.
“Dennis’ leadership has enabled GSHCS to thrive,” shared Board Chair Steve Eldrige. “We have experienced very significant growth under his direction and improved quality of care.”
Mr. Burke joined GSHCS in 1989 as Assistant Administrator and became CEO a short time later, making him the longest-serving leader in that position for the health care system. Under his leadership, GSHCS has grown from a hospital with 250 employees to a robust health care system with over 700 employees and 40 service lines.
GSHCS has received many state and national awards during Mr. Burke’s tenure. In 2011, The National Rural Health Association named GSHCS to its “Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in America” list. In 2015, GSHCS was recognized by iVantage Health Analytics and the National Organization of State Office of Rural Health for overall excellence in outcomes and financial strength, reflecting top quartile performance among all acute care hospitals in the nation. GSHCS was also awarded the “Top Workplaces in Oregon” designation by The Oregonian/Oregon Live a total of four times.
With Mr. Burke’s guidance, GSHCS has continually evolved to meet the challenges inherent in serving a growing, diverse population of over 50,000 in Umatilla and Morrow counties, and he has aided in tackling a political landscape of healthcare uncertainty at the state level and beyond.
Mr. Eldrige credits Dennis’ legistlative efforts to putting GSHCS on Oregon’s political map, so-to-speak. “His experience, expertise and passion for providing healthcare services to rural communities have made him a sought-after speaker and panel member on rural healthcare issues. He has testified before congressional committees on the challenges of rural healthcare.”
Mr. Burke holds a Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA) degree from University of Colorado, and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He has served on the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) Board for 19 years, serving as board chair in 1998, and has also served on the OAHHS Small and Rural Hospital Committee (SRC) for many terms. Mr. Burke holds a seat on the OAHHS Governance Committee and the Political Action Committee, as well as the Critical Access Hospital Leadership Committee of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). He has also been a long-standing member of the Hermiston Rotary Club.
A succession plan is in place to ensure a smooth transition for the health care system. “Dennis continues to serve in full capacity as President & CEO,” said Mr. Eldrige, “The Board of Trustees will conduct a nationwide search for his successor in the coming months.”