Bronson Promotes From Within for New Leadership Roles

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February 09, 2014

Bronson Healthcare is pleased to announce the selection of an experienced healthcare executive to serve as Bronson Battle Creek’s new leader.  James E. (Jim) McKernan, currently vice president, Bronson HealthCare Midwest, will become chief operating officer for Bronson Battle Creek and a senior vice president with Bronson Healthcare, effective, March 10, 2014. 

For the past year, interim executive leadership at Bronson Battle Creek has been provided by Anne Regling, formerly senior vice president of operations at Bronson Battle Creek, and Ken Taft, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Bronson Healthcare system. They succeeded Denise Brooks-Williams who held the top post from 2009 until 2013. Regling, who chose not to be a candidate for the permanent position, will assist with the transition and spend the next few months working on special projects for the healthcare system. Taft continues in his system role. McKernan, like COOs for Bronson Methodist and Bronson LakeView hospitals, will report to Taft.

Frank Sardone, president and CEO, Bronson Healthcare, says, “It has been my pleasure to know and work with Jim McKernan for nearly twenty years.  He is an exceptional leader whose skills will be a tremendous asset to further developing Bronson services for patients and families in Battle Creek.  I would like to publicly thank Anne Regling, Ken Taft, and the leadership team at Bronson Battle Creek for all that they have accomplished in the past year.  Most organizations slow down after a senior executive’s departure, but BBC did not.  Its continued growth and success is a credit to the leadership team’s focus and commitment.” 

McKernan is well known within the regional healthcare community. From1998-2013, he served as chief executive officer of HealthCare Midwest, a physician-led multidisciplinary group based in Kalamazoo.  With a 400+ member workforce of which more than 80 are physicians and mid-level providers, the group delivers care in a variety of specialties at locations in Allegan, Battle Creek, Coldwater, Kalamazoo, Paw Paw, Portage, South Haven, Sturgis, and Three Rivers. Last July, it became a member of the Bronson Healthcare system and McKernan was appointed vice president, Bronson HealthCare Midwest.  

From 1994-1998, McKernan was director of trauma and critical care at Bronson Methodist Hospital overseeing the Level I Trauma Center, regional burn center, medical intensive care unit, regional communication center, ambulance transport service and orthopedic and neurology service lines. The first ten years of his management career (1984-1994) were spent at The Bryn Mawr Hospital in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, as administrative director of emergency and outpatient services. McKernan received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from East Stroudsburg State College in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and an MBA from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He is certified by the American College of Medical Practice Executives.

Bronson initiated a national search for candidates, but ultimately found the best talent resided within its own leadership ranks.  Peggy Sindt, a member of the search committee and board chair of Bronson Battle Creek Hospital Community Partners which holds the minority interest in Bronson Battle Creek, says, “As the search committee looked at all the options available to us, we were pleased to see one candidate’s skills and experience jump out.  And that was Jim McKernan.  Not only is he an exceptionally well-qualified administrator, he has a first-hand understanding of our region and its healthcare needs, and has built strong relationships with area providers.   We are confident he will guide Bronson Battle Creek to even higher levels of quality and service as part of Bronson’s regional healthcare delivery system.”

McKernan and his wife, Lee, are making plans to relocate to the Battle Creek area. He will transition his administrative responsibilities at Bronson HealthCare Midwest to Jeanne Bolhuis, who has been promoted from director of practice operations to administrator.  Jeanne has served in a leadership role with HealthCare Midwest since 1996 overseeing operations, human resources, corporate compliance, business development, communications and a host of other administrative functions. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in public administration from Western Michigan University. 

Bronson Healthcare
Bronson Healthcare is a not-for-profit, community-governed healthcare system headquartered in Kalamazoo, Mich. With 7,100 employees, more than 1,000 physicians, and nearly 800 licensed beds, it is the largest employer and leading healthcare system in southwest Michigan. Bronson offers a full range of services from primary care to critical care across more than 60 locations. A national leader in healthcare quality, Bronson is an innovative, award-winning organization that partners with patients and families to achieve an exceptional care experience.  For more, visit bronsonhealth.com.

A member of the Bronson Healthcare system since 2011, Bronson Battle Creek Hospital is a 228-bed, all-private room community hospital providing a full range of outpatient and inpatient acute care including robotic surgery, world-class diagnostics, and rehabilitation services. Specialty services include inpatient behavioral health, the county’s largest accredited sleep center, and a wound-healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Bronson Battle Creek is recognized by the Leapfrog Group as one of the country’s safest hospitals and is a national leader in the development of electronic health records. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recognizes it as a Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer program, the only hospital in Michigan to be a recipient of that distinction three years in a row.  For more, visit bronsonhealth.com.

Bronson HealthCare Midwest
Bronson HealthCare Midwest joined the Bronson Healthcare system in 2013, but has served southwest Michigan since 1993.  The physician-led, multi-specialty medical group has locations in Allegan, Battle Creek, Coldwater, Kalamazoo, Paw Paw, Portage, South Haven, Sturgis, and Three Rivers. The organization staffs a team of more than 80 experienced providers who deliver care in a variety of specialties. For more, visit bronsonhealthcaremidwest.com.