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Family Health West hires new CEO

Phil Castle, The Business Times: 

A business executive with experience in the health care and construction industries has been hired as the new chief executive officer of Family Health West in Fruita.

Mark Francis

Mark Francis will oversee the operations of a nonprofit organization that has grown over the years to include skilled-care and assisted living facilities, several outpatient care centers and a full-service hospital.

Francis will succeed Dennis Ficklin, who expects to retire in November as president and CEO after working for Family Health West nearly 30 years.

“I am pleased at this choice and highly recommend Mark’s qualifications and his commitment to Family Health West. He truly has this organization at heart,” Ficklin said. “Together we will have the opportunity to transition the leadership of Family Health West over the next several months.” Francis said he’s “extremely honored and humbled” by his selection.

“Over the past few years working with many different facets of the organization, I have come to appreciate our relationships with patients and families, with each other as staff and with ourselves as individuals, continually striving for excellence,” he said.

Francis worked in the construction industry for 25 years, operating a Grand Junction-based company with his father and brother. Francis was the last to retire from the company now called FCI Constructors. He moved into the health care industry in 2004 as president and CEO of Community Hospital in Grand Junction.

In 2006, Francis launched Francis Construction Management and served as owner representative for Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado on a project to construct a new inpatient facility in Grand Junction.

Francis began consulting for Family Health West in 2008 and was involved in the design and construction of the new hospital in Fruita.

“I embrace the values of compassion, respect, integrity, accountability, open and honest communication and, finally, personal and professional growth,” Francis said. “As a team member of the Family Health West family, I am dedicated to enriching the lives of the community in which we serve and providing a safe and healing environment.”

Francis takes over an operation that has grown considerably from its origins 70 years ago. “We’ve been addressing needs as needs change,” said Ficklin, who has worked for Family Health West for 29 years, the last 20 as president and CEO.

The organization was founded in 1946 to operate a small hospital and provide health care services to what was at that time a rural population.

Family Health West later developed a national reputation for the services offered at its long-term skilled care facility, including a social model of care for patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

In 2009, Family Health West opened a new hospital in Fruita that includes emergency, laboratory, radiology and surgery services.

The organization also operates outpatient procedure and rehabilitation therapy centers and an urgent care clinic as well as an assisted-living facility.

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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