COLUMBUS - John Russell, the administrator at Boscobel Area Health Care since 2008, has accepted the position of president and chief executive officer at Columbus Community Hospital.

Russell comes to CCH with nearly 20 years of experience in the health care arena. Much of his career has focused on critical access hospitals, as he is the former chief financial officer for an organization that specialized in returning struggling critical access hospitals to success, both financially and culturally. Russell was also a consultant to healthcare facilities across the western half of the United States. His expertise in consulting and reimbursement led him to become a nationally-renowned speaker on these topics.

Following several years of extensive travel, Russell, his wife Rose, and their three school-age children decided to focus more on investing in their family life. In 2008, he accepted a position as the administrator of Boscobel Area Health Care.

Russell will assume his role at CCH on May 3.

Previously, Ed Harding spent 10 years as president and CEO of CCH before moving on early last December to assume the same role at the Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette.

Allen Atkinson of Decorah, Iowa, has been serving as interim president and chief executive officer at CCH since shortly before Harding left his permanent position vacant. CCH found Atkinson through B.E. Smith of Kansas City, a health-care recruitment firm.

B.E. Smith was also hired to conduct the search for the permanent position.

CCH began work on phase three of its five-phase master facility plan in late November. A major part of phase three involves the reconstruction of the obstetrics area, which will be moved from the second floor to the third floor.

In addition to women's health and childbirth services, the third floor will also contain the swing bed area and observation/acute care.

The second floor will be renovated after the third floor is complete, and the portion that currently houses women's health will become the home of respiratory therapy and a new sleep lab.

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