ROUNDUP — A search is under way for a new CEO of Roundup Memorial Hospital to replace Gary Bostrom, who stepped down Jan. 3.

Bostrom was working as chief executive officer and chief financial officer for the independent hospital for about two years. He will stay on as CFO.

“It was too much,” Bostrom said of doing both jobs.

Barry Kenfield, former chief operating officer of Community Medical Center in Missoula, is acting as interim director.

Bostrom will now be able to concentrate solely on the hospital's financial health, which he said is critical. The hospital has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past few years and has been working to cut costs wherever possible.

Bostrom has described the hospital as “cash poor.”

In August, voters approved a second mill levy in support of their health care facilities, which include a hospital, clinic and extended care beds. The 20-mill levy, approved by a sizable margin, will bring in $193,620 for the next five years. It comes just a year after voters approved a two-year, 16-mill levy that will overlap the latest levy for fiscal year 2011.

Applications for the CEO position opened about a month ago, and at least 30 people have applied. It is expected to take four to five months to fill the position.

Billings Clinic is leading the recruitment effort through a Management Services Agreement it recently signed with the hospital. Adding Billings Clinic's high-profile name to the recruitment effort should attract “higher caliber” individuals, said Kyle Gee, vice president-regional chief financial officer of Billings Clinic.

“Potential candidates recognize Billings Clinic's name and reputation and understand the value of support they will get in this rural community with Billings Clinic there to help them,” Gee said.

Despite cash struggles, most residents consider Roundup Memorial, like most rural health care facilities, to be a vital service for the community. It is one of the county's largest employers, with a payroll of $3 million and about 90 employees. It is also the only health care facility for miles around.

Contact Cindy Uken at cuken@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.

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Contact Cindy Uken at cuken@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.