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Cottage Health System’s Ron Werft Elected Board Chair of California Hospital Association

He says 2011 is likely to be a critical year for the state's health-care providers

Ronald Werft, president and CEO of Santa Barbara-based Cottage Health System, has been elected 2011 chairman of the California Hospital Association Board of Trustees.

Ron Werft
Ron Werft

“It’s truly an honor to lead an association as respected as CHA,” Werft said. “CHA has a well-earned reputation for effectively advocating on behalf of hospitals and the patients and communities we serve. This is especially important for California’s community hospitals in these very challenging times.”

Werft noted that the state’s dire budget crisis and the uncertainties surrounding the implementation of national health-care reform make 2011 an especially critical year for hospitals and other health-care providers in the state.

“It’s important to acknowledge that the governor and the Legislature face a monumental challenge in getting the state’s fiscal house in order,” Werft said. “And, although reasonable people can disagree on the details of national health-care reform, nearly everyone agrees with the goal of improving coverage and care in our communities. We must be vigilant in our advocacy efforts to ensure that hospitals are able to meet the growing expectations of our patients while making health care more affordable and accessible to all.”

A graduate of UC San Diego, Werft earned his master’s degree in hospital and health care administration from the University of Minnesota. He joined Cottage Health System in 1987, rising to the role of president/CEO in 2000.

The nonprofit, three-hospital system cares more for more than 20,000 inpatients and 64,000 emergency department visitors each year. Cottage also offers residency programs in internal medicine, general surgery and radiology, and is the largest private employer in Santa Barbara County.

In addition to his professional duties, Werft also serves on numerous boards of community and charitable organizations, including United Way of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara Partners in Education, the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Fighting Back Steering Committee and Santa Barbara Middle School.

CHA President and CEO C. Duane Dauner called Werft “an exceptional choice” to serve as CHA’s board chairman during such challenging times.

“California’s community hospitals will be well-served by having Ron Werft guide our association this coming year,” Dauner said. “Ron’s in-depth knowledge of health care and his inspiring leadership style will make him an effective advocate with state and federal policymakers on behalf of hospitals and the patients who receive care.”

Other officers elected to the CHA Board of Trustees for 2011 are chair-elect Steven Packer, M.D., president and CEO of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula; secretary-treasurer Roger Seaver, president and CEO of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia (Los Angeles County); and past chairman Patrick Fry, president and CEO of Sutter Health in Sacramento.

As one of the largest health-care trade associations in the nation, the CHA represents more than 400 hospitals and health systems in California. The association provides its members with public policy development, issues management and legislative advocacy services at the state and federal levels. The CHA has offices in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

— Jan Emerson-Shea is the vice president of external affairs for the California Hospital Association.

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