CEDAR CITY— Eric Packer was selected from a highly competitive nationwide pool of candidates to become the new administrator at Valley View Medical Center, which is currently in the process of changing their name to Cedar City Hospital. Packer succeeds Jason Wilson, who accepted the position of administrator at American Fork Hospital in January 2015. Packer has served as the administrator at Bear River Valley Hospital in Tremonton for the last 12 years and officially starts in his position at Valley View April 11.
Terri Kane, Regional Vice President of the Southwest Region of Intermountain Healthcare said:
During his tenure at Bear River, Eric was accountable for clinical, financial and operational performance — including managing a medical staff of nearly 100 providers. He oversaw the design and construction of the new hospital and medical office building, established new programs including a heart clinic and cardiac rehab, spine, pain services, audiology/ENT, respiratory therapy, and is currently designing the hospitalist and urgent care programs. We are excited to have Eric join our team here in the Southwest Region.
Packer was born in California. When he was 11, his family moved to Fillmore, Utah, when his father, Richard Packer, became the hospital administrator at Fillmore Community Medical Center. His family then moved to St. George as his father became assistant administrator at Dixie Regional Medical Center. Packer graduated from Dixie High School in 1983 and went on to attend Southern Utah University, graduating in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and a minor in Marketing. Packer went on to earn his master’s degree in business administration.
Packer had originally started his professional career as a stockbroker, but one experience led him to realize that he wanted something different in life.
“I was working with a woman, who was recently widowed and had financial challenges,” Packer said. “She was left a very small amount of money from her husband’s life insurance. She wanted to invest in some risky penny stocks. I could have just said ‘OK’ and I would have made some money from it, but morally, it did not feel right, as I knew that she would more than likely lose money. I finally had to tell her, ‘You need to find someone else to do this, because I can’t in good conscience do this for you.’”
Packer said he saw how rewarding it was for his father to work in health care, and so he decided to make the change, working in hospital finance in Cassia, Heber City and then eventually becoming the director of outpatient services at a hospital in Wyoming.
From there, Intermountain hired Packer to become the administrator at Garfield Memorial Hospital, a position he served in from 1997 to 2004.
“Eric was instrumental in working with the State of Utah to bring a mammography outreach program to rural Utah, serving Piute County, Beaver County, Garfield County, and Kane County,” Kane said. “The outreach program included a mobile mammography unit. Eric, on his own volition, obtained his CDL license (a commercial driver’s license required to operate large vehicles and trailers) because he saw the need for additional drivers to help drive the mobile mammography unit when it was needed. I really think this demonstrates Eric’s commitment to our hospitals and to the community. In his role as administrator, Eric has worked very hard to expand other clinic outreach programs to surrounding rural and at-risk communities.”
Packer said he loves his work as an administrator and looks forward to coming to Valley View Medical Center.
“Valley View is such a great community hospital, and they have consistently earned many national awards to prove it!” he said. “I am grateful to get to work at such an exceptional facility with talented and amazing people. I love my work as an administrator, and always seek to innovate and improve the services we are able to provide to the community.”
Packer also said he’s grateful to have the opportunity to come back home.
“We lived in Cedar City while we went to college, and my wife, Sandy, is actually from Cedar,” Packer said. “Her parents are Burnell and Velma Hunt. Burnell was an institute teacher for many years across from the college. Sandy and I both feel Iron County is such a special place, and has really given us so much. We are really excited to come back and be an active part of the community.”
The Packers have been married 29 years and have four daughters and four grandchildren, the newest grandchild having been born in October. By this summer, all four of their daughters will have earned their college degrees. In his spare time, Packer likes to go camping, hunting, skiing and fishing. He particularly enjoys fly fishing for trout at Island Park, which is located just outside of West Yellowstone.