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Howard Memorial Hospital Names New CEO


Willits, CA – Jason Wells has been named president and CEO of Frank R Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH), according to Jeff Eller, president and CEO of the Northern California Region of Adventist Health. Wells, who has worked for 11 years with Adventist Health System, a sister organization to Adventist Health, will begin his role on March 28.

“I am excited that we’ve found someone with Jason’s vision and proven record of driving growth,” says Eller. “He is well known for driving change and has a passion for sustaining a culture of excellence.”

Wells will leave his position as chief operating officer of the Physician Enterprise and vice president of Experience at Park Ridge Health, a 103-bed hospital near Asheville, North Carolina. In this capacity, he oversaw business development and strategy, marketing and communications, hospital and clinic patient experience and the operations of 38 medical practices. During his tenure, more than 50 physicians and providers and several new specialties were added to the network. Additionally, Wells provided executive oversight of several significant accomplishments including national recognition multiple years as a top 100 healthcare employer in Becker’s Healthcare Review and the 2015 best performer in the state of North Carolina on hospital HCAHPS “willingness to recommend.”

“Jason’s background includes leading organizations to achieve high patient satisfaction and experience ratings, a natural fit for Howard Memorial Hospital, which routinely receives exceptionally high scores from patients. Additionally, he has extensive experience in physician recruiting, a significant focus for Howard Memorial Hospital and the Mendocino County Community,” adds Eller.

Wells, who is passionate about improving the patient experience and physician recruitment says he’s looking forward to partnering with providers and the community to bring in more physicians to fully utilize this impressive facility delivering exceptional care for our community. 

“I am humbled to have been selected to lead such an impressive community treasure as Howard Memorial Hospital. As the largest employer in Willits, we play a key role in economic development for Willits and the greater region. And this is such a pivotal time for the hospital and the community as we work together to find innovative ways to deal with the impacts of the new bypass. The new hospital is state-of-the-art and it complements the exceptional providers and staff. I’m looking forward to building on that reputation for great care so we can draw people in to experience this unique hospital in such a great community.”

Asked what brought him to Willits, CA, Wells says he loves the small town feel. “My wife and I both lived in small towns. She grew up in Fall River Mills, CA, and her parents still live there and they are thrilled to have their grandchildren close by.”

“We are excited to be moving to Willits. There is something special about truly connecting with friends in a small town that is lost in a large urban setting. We experienced the friendly spirit of Willits during our visit in January and have been excited about making the move and making new friendships and exploring everything that the community has to offer,” he adds.

Kevin Erich, who took over HMH’s leadership temporarily while the search for the new CEO was underway says he feels confident that he is leaving the hospital in Wells’ capable hands. “As much as I have loved my time here, I’m excited to have Jason assume leadership over this hospital and community that’s really close to my heart. With his energy and experience, I’m confident that he will do well and he will take HMH’s exceptional care to the next level.”

The community is invited for an open house to meet the hospital’s new CEO. The open house will be held on Thursday, March 30 from 5:30 to 6:30 the Main Lobby of the new hospital on 1 Marcela Drive. Appetizers and refreshments will be served.