Soniya Fidler named UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center president
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Soniya Fidler was named this week as the new president of UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. Fidler has served as interim president since Frank May retired last fall.
Fidler said she is excited, honored and feels privileged to have the opportunity to move into the official role as president.
“I’m so grateful for what everyone here does,” she said. “And I have a lot of pride in being part of a strong organization that delivers incredible care.”
Since joining the staff of the hospital in 2005, Fidler has worn numerous hats and held diverse job titles.
“Soniya is an experienced leader who has shown an ability to improve patient care and strengthen the hospital’s connection to the Steamboat Springs community and independent physicians,” said Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies, in a news release. “I am confident she will continue to put patients first while increasing the services available at YVMC.”
Fidler and her husband first moved to Steamboat Springs in 2000, having “promised ourselves we would live in Colorado and be ski bums for a couple years before settling into the real world.”
They chose Steamboat, site unseen, for its smaller size and location farther from Interstate 70.
After growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fidler met her husband, Frank, while attending West Virginia University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration-finance.
She later earned her master’s degree in organizational leadership-human resources management from Regis University.
First working in property management in Steamboat, Fidler was then hired as a senior recruiter at the hospital. After that, whenever there were opportunities to learn a new role and take on additional duties, Fidler said she was the first to raise her hand.
Prior to being named as interim president, Fidler served as chief operating officer and chief human resources and compliance officer.
Fidler and her husband continue to ski and snowboard as much as they can. Last year, she said was able to exceed her goal of 30 days on the hill.
They are also raising a family. Their 10-year-old son, Kalkin, is an avid football player and fan, and their 8-year-old daughter, Sahira, is a passionate gymnast.
Frank Fidler works for Steamboat Resort, and the whole family enjoys everything the snow offers in the winter, she said, and camping and mountain biking during the warmer months.
“I feel very fortunate to live, work and play in this community,” Fidler said. “And I feel fortunate to be able to give back to the health care industry and back to the community.”
In terms of short- and long-term goals and priorities, Fidler said there are many, and there is “a lot going on in the health care industry.”
But she also said she wants to be strategic about the timeline and not take on too much.
One project Fidler has been very involved with during the past nine months is the partnership with the Steamboat Orthopaedic & Spine Institute in building a new ambulatory surgery center.
Under May, the partnership was rocky and hit a wall around the time he retired.
Yampa Valley Medical Center interim CEO Dr. Tom Downes was brought in along with Fidler to, among other things, strengthen ties with local physicians.
Fidler said there is still a lot of work to do in terms of creating an entirely new entity, but they are making good progress, and the dialogue and collaboration with the local surgeons are going very well.
“Both parties are really showing up to the table,” she said. “The overall partnership is really strong — which confirms it was the right path for both of us.”
Downes will continue to provide support locally during Fidler’s transition in addition to his role as chief medical officer of UCHealth’s Northern Colorado region.
Fidler said working alongside Downes for the past nine months has been very valuable, both for the staff to have a conduit to the UCHealth system and to have Downes spending time to better understand the greater Steamboat community.
“It has been exciting to work so closely with physicians in Routt County as we focus on our common goals of coordinating care, lowering costs and improving the overall health of the community we serve,” said Downes in the news release. “With Soniya serving as YVMC president, I know the future of YVMC and health care in this region is bright.”
In addition to getting the new surgery center up and running, Fidler said other priorities include improving access to specialists, whether that means visiting doctors or virtually through telemedicine technology.
She’s also working on getting more cost-effective insurance plans for local employers and building community partnerships, like with The Old Town Hot Springs, that foster “a shared mission and focus on the health and wellness of the community.”
While Fidler acknowledges some challenging times amid the UCHealth takeover during the past several years, she said she is seeing a hospital where employees are increasingly proud to be a part of the UCHealth system and seeing the benefits of the affiliation and access to resources.
At the same time, she said she is working hard to “make sure the community still understands this is still a local community hospital — one that delivers high quality care and puts patients at the forefront of every decision we make.”
Fidler said she has much news to share in coming months on the continued work to enhance the health care provided to the community by the hospital.
“Yampa Valley Medical Center is a wonderful resource to our community, but of course, it’s the people working inside these walls who bring the hospital to life and deliver excellent and compassionate patient care,” Fidler said in the release. “I am humbled to be chosen to lead YVMC and to continue working alongside our wonderful employees and medical staff to benefit patients throughout Northwest Colorado.”
To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.
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