South Peninsula Hospital CEO Robert Letson announced his retirement last week, ending his decade-long stint in Homer. Letson decided to retire after a couple of family members dealt with health issues over the past year, but he plans to stay on for the next nine months, affording the hospital’s board ample time to find a replacement.
Prior to working at SPH, Letson worked at both for-profit and non-profit hospitals around Georgia and the Carolinas for about 30 years.
He said when he made his initial site visit to Homer, the Kenai Peninsula’s beauty sold itself.
Throughout his 10 years working in Homer, SPH has received national recognition. It was named a top-100 critical access hospital three times, and Letson also oversaw expansions of the facility and medical services.
“When I came on board, we were building the new acute care, new labor and delivery, the MRI building and recently the Homer Medical [Center] expansion and the remodel of the surgery department,” he said.
Letson worked to expand specialty care services as well, and he’s leaving the hospital in good financial shape. He helped increase revenue by $74 million over the past nine years, about a 200-percent jump.
Letson notes that he’s also made moves to set SPH up for success when it comes changes in healthcare regulations, such as aligning physicians and the hospital as one entity.
“That way we can easily interface with Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross, in terms of taking care of our patients in the future,” Letson added.
He notes these steps will give the next CEO time before making major decisions.
He plans to move back to the Southeastern U.S. to spend more time with family, but he said he may not give up his career completely.
“After going down south, I’ll probably work part time, maybe interim administrator positions or maybe some type of consulting like that,” Letson explained. “I may not want to completely give up my career yet.”
The search for a new CEO can be a lengthy process, and the SPH board is already seeking a replacement.