2017 MHA Grad Eggleston Named CEO at Callaway District Hospital
By Dan Silvia
Brett Eggleston, a 2018 graduate of Bellevue University’s Master of Healthcare Administration program, was recently promoted to CEO of Callaway District Hospital and Medical Clinics. Eggleston was actually born at the central Nebraska hospital and graduated from Callaway High School. Callaway is located about 65 miles northwest of Kearney, Nebraska. The Buzz recently interviewed Eggleston to learn more about his new role and how Bellevue University has impacted his career.
When did you assume the role of CEO at Callaway District Hospital and Medical Clinics? What are some of the responsibilities of the position?
I assumed my responsibilities as CEO at Callaway District Hospital and Medical Clinics (CDH) on Dec. 21, 2018, following the retirement of Marvin Neth, who had served as CEO for over 41 years. My duties as CEO include general oversight of the hospital and clinic operations, as well as assisting the board of directors in policy development and strategic vision for the organization. My direct reports include the CFO, CNO, radiology manager, laboratory manager and medical records manager. In addition, I have a special interest in the organization’s IT resources and am highly involved in guiding optimization of our EHR (Electronic Health Records) software and integration of IT resources throughout the organization.
What are some of the opportunities for the hospital that you would like to maximize as CEO?
As a rural health facility, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to deliver healthcare services to our community. We were an early adopter of value-based care as a participant in the Caravan Health Accountable Care Organization. Through this program, we focus on keeping our population healthy through preventive medicine and high-quality care. Additionally, since our facility is located 60+ miles from a major medical center, we are always looking for ways to develop a network of specialty providers to enhance our patients’ access to outpatient specialty services within our community. These services may be in the form of outreach clinics at our facility or through telemedicine services which offer a two-way audio/visual connection with providers located in other facilities across the state or even the nation.
What is the role of the hospital in the community and the surrounding areas?
The primary service area for the hospital and clinics include the communities of Callaway, Oconto and Arnold, Nebraska. Although, many patients travel from other nearby communities to receive their care from CDH providers. With around 65 employees, CDH is the largest employer in the community and contributes nearly $3.5 million in payroll annually to the local economy. The hospital and clinics are economic drivers within the community.
Callaway District Hospital is a 12-bed Critical Access Hospital located in Callaway, Nebraska. The hospital is a local government entity encompassing 694-square miles of rural Custer County. The hospital district is governed by a five-member board of directors who are all residents of the geographic boundaries of the district. In addition to the hospital operations, CDH also owns two rural health clinics, one located in Callaway, Nebraska, and the other 35 miles away in Arnold, Nebraska.
How important was earning your MHA in landing the CEO position?
A master’s degree is a requirement to move into most CEO roles, even in small hospitals. After my first few months at CDH, I was approached by our former CEO about my interest in completing an MHA degree. I was instantly interested in the prospect since I had already been considering an MBA prior to accepting the CFO position at that hospital. I feel that having an MHA degree is vitally important for any senior healthcare leader.
How did you first learn about Bellevue University and what led you to enroll at the University?
I learned about the Bellevue (University) MHA program through our organization’s membership in the Nebraska Hospital Association and through networking with former graduates. These recommendations made it clear that Bellevue University had a well-respected program that would serve my needs as a rural hospital leader.
My first introduction to Bellevue (University) and the MHA program was at Nebraska Hospital Association conference in Kearney where Dr. Mike Freel provided the keynote address on leadership within the healthcare industry. I could tell that Dr. Freel had a passion for healthcare leadership and was very knowledgeable about the unique leadership challenges within the industry.
What did you enjoy most about the MHA program?
As a full-time student and full-time CFO, completing the MHA program was not an easy task. I really enjoyed the freedom of completing all my coursework online when my schedule allowed. The professors were very willing to support my education through encouragement and intellectual challenge. The weekly deadlines required throughout the MHA program help to keep me on task and moving through the course material. The online learning environment also created a learning experience that brought together aspiring hospital leaders from many different backgrounds and geographic locations. The diversity of experiences among the other students was helpful to understand the issues facing healthcare facilities of all different types and sizes across the country.
Was there someone at Bellevue University who had a significant impact on you during your time here?
The faculty at Bellevue University were fantastic. I appreciated their support and guidance throughout the entire program. During the last few months of the program, Dr. Mike Freel served as an excellent resource as a worked to complete my Capstone Project. My student coach, Kayla Lorenzo, also did an excellent job making sure I was registered for classes and answering all of my questions along the way.
Where are you from originally and where did you go to high school?
I grew up in the small community of Oconto, Nebraska just 15 miles from Callaway. I was born at the Callaway District Hospital and now supervise the physician and some of the nurses who cared for me as an infant! I attended elementary school in Oconto before transferring to Callaway High School in 7th grade. I graduated from Callaway High School with the class of 2006 and attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Management in 2010.
Who have been the biggest supporters of your academic and career goals?
I have had many supporters throughout my education and career. From an early age, I gained a foundation in business by working with my grandparents (Kenneth and Beulah Eggleston) and parents (Daniel and Sandra Eggleston) at our family business in Oconto. After starting school in Callaway, I began working as a teacher’s aide for the Office Manager (Donna Glendy) and Superintendent (Patrick Osmond) of my high school. Both Pat and Donna supported me throughout high school and also offered me part-time employment during college and full-time employment after graduating college. During my time as CFO at Callaway District Hospital and Medical Clinics, our CEO Marvin Neth also had a major impact on my professional career. Marvin served as my mentor and was a significant supporter of my master’s education.