WARMC CEO has “coming-out party”

March 15, 2019

BULLHEAD CITY — Michael Stenger has been on the job as chief executive officer at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center for more than eight months.

On Wednesday, a reception was held in his honor at the hospital’s Bistro, attended by about 100 WARMC staff members, city officials, community leaders and a large contingent of Senior Circle members.

“This is my coming-out party today,” said Stenger, who served as interim CEO for about six months before being named the permanent CEO in January. “I’m feeling giddy.”

Stenger said his primary duty as chief of the Community Health Systems facility was to “make this a better place.” He said that meant both inside and outside the Bullhead City hospital.

He said that WARMC has the key personnel in place to make that goal a reality.

“The lifeblood of any hospital is its medical team,” he said. “We have some amazing medical staff.”

He noted that 14 medical professionals have joined the WARMC staff recently or will be doing so in the near future. And, he added, “they could have chosen to go anywhere, but they chose to come to Bullhead City.”

He also said there are six positions — some of them new — remaining to be filled as the hospital continues its growth to meet the medical needs of the Tri-state.

Stenger said that WARMC is evaluated and accredited by the same agencies that review standards of operation and care at big-name facilities in large cities across the country.

“We’re meeting and exceeding the same standards they are,” he said.

He said among his priorities at WARMC is formation of a patient-family advisory council to provide “feedback, constructive feedback, the good, bad and ugly” to help the hospital address shortcomings or expand programs sought in the community.

He said he wanted the yet-to-be-formed council “to be actively engaged” with the hospital staff.

“That’s a high priority,” he said. “We don’t have one now — and I’m not sure we ever have — but we will have one soon.”

Stenger has more than 30 years of experience as a senior level hospital/healthcare executive, both in for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. In addition to his tenure with CHS, Stenger worked for Quorum Health Resources, formerly a division of CHS, as well as Humana, Centura Health, Novant Health, Hospital Sisters Health System and Franciscan Alliance.

A native of Cincinnati, Stenger earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Notre Dame and his master’s degree from Xavier University. He is board-certified as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

He said he already has become acquainted with several of the nuances of living in Bullhead City. He said he has found evidence that burros have discovered his yard and he now knows why many of the stores and offices in town have covers on their metal door handles, especially during the summer months.

As for summers in Bullhead City, Stenger said he was quite familiar with extreme weather. He and his wife, Marion, have family in North Dakota. In fact, he was married in North Dakota on a day he said was well below zero.

“This beats 25-below zero in North Dakota by a long shot,” he said.