In The News

Irish Appointed President and CEO of Simi Valley Hospital

Gary G. Irish has been appointed president and CEO of Simi Valley Hospital (SVH) and assumed his new duties on October 11, 2005. He replaces Terry Hansen, who has been the hospital’s interim leader since the departure of former President and CEO Margaret Peterson at the end of July 2005.

Irish comes to Simi Valley Hospital from sister hospital South Coast Medical Center in Laguna Beach, California, where he had been president and CEO since January 2002. Previously, he was COO of Littleton Adventist Hospital and Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver.

In addition, Irish has been administrator/executive vice president for Huguley Health System, a full-service primary and secondary acute-care hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. He has served in various other administrative and leadership roles, including president and CEO of GlenOaks Hospital and Medical Center in Glendale Heights, Illinois.

He began his health care career in 1978 as director of Resource Management and Planning at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, California.

Irish holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology/chemistry from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan; a master of public health degree in health service administration from Loma Linda University; and a master of business administration (MBA) from UCLA.

Points of Pride

Looking back on his nearly six years of service at South Coast, Irish cited several highlights, including the hospital’s development of a stroke center, a movement disorders / Parkinson’s program that offers deep brain stimulation, a bariatric surgery program and a women’s center with a specialist in urogynecology. South Coast has also joined Planetree, a national non-profit alliance of hospitals promoting programs that personalize and humanize the hospital experience.

The Orange County Register has named South Coast one of the top four hospitals among more than 30 hospitals in the county, and the laboratory and pathology programs have been ranked number one out of 400 hospitals in the PRC physician satisfaction survey. In addition, the hospital received a near-perfect score on its last Joint Commission survey.

Plan of Action

Irish has some specific goals in mind as he looks forward to his leadership role at Simi Valley Hospital.

“I am very happy to see the progress that is being made on the new Patient Care Tower,” he said. “There is also a great opportunity at Simi Valley Hospital to strengthen some programs, such as cardiology and oncology. In addition, I would very much like to get the community involved in fund raising for the development of a new emergency facility at the hospital.”

The business climate for health care in the Simi Valley area is favorable toward Simi Valley Hospital, Irish said.

“It seems like a wide open area in terms of further development of health care programs, since there isn’t a major HMO competitor and other really big players like we’ve had to compete with in Orange County,” he said. “I’m looking forward to operating on a more even playing field.”

As he begins to settle into his new role, Irish said he is looking forward to meeting leadership and staff within the hospital, stressing that he has an open door policy for anyone at any level of the organization.

Heading North

Irish and his wife, Karen, are planning to move as soon as possible to Simi Valley, along with their collie, Cheyenne.

He said he is going to enjoy the golfing options in the area, as well as the opportunity to further indulge in his sports car hobby by taking his cars out on the area’s hills.

“We’re looking forward to moving to Simi Valley,” he said. “We like the fact that it is suburban, yet it retains the feel of a historical California community. We’re also glad to still be near the ocean. I think I’ll actually feel more comfortable living in Simi Valley than I have in Orange County.”

Posted 10/19/05