BANDON — The Southern Coos Health District Board of Directors has hired Eugene Suksi as Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center’s interim CEO.
Suksi has been hired on a one-year contract.
The Board fired former CEO Amy Fine on March 26 on a vote of 3-1 in a decision that proved somewhat controversial for the district.
Soon after, the board interviewed four candidates and used a search firm specializing in healthcare professionals to assist in identifying qualified candidates.
“The district board felt that out of all the candidates, Mr. Suksi had the best experience and skills to guide the district and the hospital into the future,” said Esther Williams, Southern Coos Health District board president.
Suksi has over 30 years of experience in senior healthcare management in a wide variety of settings, encompassing both acute care and behavioral health. Suksi began his career as a behavioral health counselor before moving into healthcare administration and has an established record of revenue growth, cost control, product development, and quality improvement.
Suksi’s most recent position was as CEO of Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare, a 90-bed psychiatric hospital, and also has over a decade of experience in of small, acute care facilities in Washington and California, including extensive experience with critical access hospitals and public healthcare districts.
He grew up in Illinois and went to school in the Midwest and graduate school in Idaho, then earned his MBA and MHA at the University of Washington.
"I've always worked in healthcare and I've never even thought about doing anything else," Suksi said.
Suksi said he is impressed with the depth of talent among hospital employees and feels they have worked hard to prepare for any potential COVID-19 cases.
"I think folks here did a very good job of preparedness," Suksi said. "We haven't seen any cases — yet, and hopefully those will be in small numbers. I think there's been a great effort and awareness in Bandon to prepare. It's of great concern to all hospitals and also clinics and every form of healthcare service."
Suksi said his background in running behavioral health clinics and hospitals will be useful in his position at a critical access hospital like Southern Coos.
"You can bring behavioral health into an acute care center," he said.
He enjoys being in a small community like Bandon for both professional and personal reasons. He's worked in smaller and larger facilities, including a stint as CEO at Sutter Coast Hospital in Curry County. When he learned of the opportunity in Bandon, he knew he wanted to apply. He and his wife Nancy both like the coastal environment and the size of Bandon's community.
"A small community allows us to be more involved," he said.
Nancy is still in Bakersfield for the time being with their Australian Shepherd, Cable.
One thing Suksi hopes to work on as interim CEO is being more transparent with the public.
"The community fills in the blanks, when they don't have all the information, with things more sinister than the truth is, if you don't share that," he said. "So I hope to put energy into communicating both internally and externally."
“Bandon is a unique and beautiful community,” Suksi added. “I am impressed with the extent of expertise in the Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center staff and am excited to move forward.”