May celebrates 20 years with Yampa Valley Medical Center
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Frank May, chief executive officer of UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, has witnessed a lot of change since arriving in Steamboat Springs 20 years ago, but he said his first impression of the local hospital has never changed.
“There are just great people here, and I think that is the thing that impressed me the most over all these years,” May said. “I just could not get over the quality of the people that work here and how much they care about what they do.”
When May arrived at Routt Memorial Hospital in downtown Steamboat on June 1, 1998, hospital leaders had just broken ground on a new hospital building on Central Park Drive, where the medical complex still sits today.
“I think getting moved over here was a big event,” he said. “We did a lot of planning and everything to make sure that it worked.”
May said the new campus provided the community with a sense of pride and the faith that care was top notch.
In 2000, May stepped into an interim CEO position after Margaret Sabin stepped down to take a position with another hospital. May filled the position for about nine months until Karl Gills was hired.
Gills wasn’t sure if he needed a chief operating officer when he took the helm, so Mays began looking for another job. But Gills soon recognized May’s financial background and asked him to fill a newly created position that blended chief financial officer and COO duties.
“That was a big point in my career here,” May said. “My family didn’t want to move. I was very thankful to him (Gills) for being very open with me. I told him what I was doing, and I told him why and when I came back, he told me he didn’t want me going anywhere.”
In the years that followed, May watched hospital services grow and equipment get upgraded, and in 2008 and 2009, the hospital underwent a major expansion to add more operating rooms and obstetrics space.
Then in 2016, the hospital added the Gloria Gossard Breast Health Center to its campus, and Yampa Care for Women moved into the space where the Doak Walker Care Center had been located. The Jan Bishop Cancer Center was added in 2017.
“The cancer center is something that I’m truly proud of … it was a nice thing for the patients in our valley,” May said.
“I think one of the things I take the most pride in is the amount of recognition that the hospital had gotten for its quality and patient experience,” May added. “It’s about the people who work here and what they do everyday to make that happen.”
May, who was named CEO in 2012, believes the hospital is a key part of what Steamboat Springs is now and what it will be in the future.
“There are so many things that are changing right now. Health care is an industry that had been relatively stable for a long, long time,” May said. “Now, we are focusing much more on trying to keep people well, rather than treating them when they are sick. It’s something that really drove us toward a partnership with UCHealth and their vision of healthcare.
“We are trying to make that transition from what we have always been, to what we need to be,” May continued. “It’s kind of the exciting part of health care, but it’s also the challenging part.”
May and his wife, Diane, said their children David, 32, and Julie, 30, enjoyed growing up in the Steamboat Springs community.
May looks forward to working closely with the boards of Yampa Valley Medical Center and Yampa Valley Medical Center Foundation to be the health care leaders in Steamboat Springs and Northern Colorado.
“This is a community jewel,” May said of the hospital. “Somehow. through the changes, and all the things that are going on, I feel like our community really needs to protect this as an asset and as something that is extremely important to what the future is going to look like here. This is a very special place with a lot of special people.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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