Kenneth McFarland was named president and chief executive of Mission Hospital, which operates campuses in Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach, St. Joseph Health System announced this week.
McFarland, 50, of San Clemente, has worked for Mission Hospital as chief financial officer since 1998, but also served the last six months as interim chief executive.
“He’s a very good choice,” said former council member Cheryl Kinsman, a member of the hospital’s community advisory council, which met Tuesday and where McFarland’s promotion was announced. “He was involved in all of the negotiations with the city for the transfer,” said Kinsman, referring to the $36.5 million acquisition in 2009 of the former South Coast Medical Center in Laguna Beach.
The hospital, with 333 workers, is the city’s second largest employer and a major charitable giver. Montage Laguna Beach employs 665, both full and part-time workers, while the city itself employs 250 non-summer workers.
The Friendship Shelter, community clinic and the city’s homeless shelter have all become recipients of grants or contributions since the acquisition. In addition, the hospital’s direct charity, forgiving medical bills, is a significant annual figure, pointed out Eric Jessen, also an advisory council member. “They’re operating in the black, but showed a deficit because of charitable giving,” he said.
The council urged McFarland to step up community outreach, especially to tout average wait time in the Laguna emergency room of 14 minutes, Jessen said. Overall, surgeries and ER use has dipped in Laguna during the last year, although administrators are pushing ahead with an $11 million air conditioning and electrical rehab, the council was told.
“They’ve been operating strongly for some time,” Jessen said. “As CFO, he gets credit for that.”
McFarland succeeds Peter Bastone, the longtime president and chief executive of the 552-bed facility, who announced in April plans to pursue other opportunities. During Bastone’s 15 years at Mission, he oversaw a $153 million expansion, including the construction of a 94,900-square-foot patient tower at the Mission Viejo campus, as well as the addition of the Laguna Beach campus.
During McFarland’s 13-year tenure, he guided teams that put in use electronic medical records, developed Mission Viejo’s master plan and was instrumental in the deal for Laguna.
“Kenn has a great deal of knowledge about the region and possesses a proven track record of envisioning and carrying out numerous efforts that effectively meet community health care needs,” Darrin Montalvo, St. Joseph’s executive vice president for the southern California region said in a statement.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead an organization that is so committed to serving its communities,” said McFarland, whose goal is to ensure Mission Hospital continues to be a good neighbor and top south-county health provider.
A lifelong advocate of community service, McFarland serves on the board of Camino Health Center and is a former board member of Stoneybrooke Christian Schools and San Clemente Little League.
In 2007, he received the CFO of the Year Award from the local CPA chapter. He holds degrees from California Polytechnic University, Pomona, and UC Irvine. He and his wife, Kristine, have two sons Jacob, 14 and Sean, 11.
Mission Hospital employs 2,567 people, company spokeswoman Kellie Todd Griffin said. Its Mission Viejo campus houses south-county’s designated trauma center, a heart center and maternity center; the Laguna campus houses behavioral health and chemical dependency services in addition to acute care beds and an emergency room.