CEDAR CITY — The Utah Department of Health has awarded Cedar City Hospital Administrator Eric Packer with their 2020 CEO of the Year award.
According to a press release from Intermountain Cedar City Hospital, Packer was nominated for this award by Greg Rosenvall with the Utah Hospital Association.
“Eric is a tenured CEO who is well-respected,” Rosenvall said in his nomination, “and because of his leadership, Cedar City Hospital has been consistently recognized nationally with various awards for being one of the top rural hospital in the country.”
Under his leadership, Cedar City Hospital has been named a Top 20 Rural Hospital in the Country for five years in a row, the press release states, something no other hospital has ever achieved. The hospital has also been named a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 5 Star Hospital, among the 100 Great Community Hospitals from Becker’s Hospital Review and a Top 100 Hospital by IBM Watson Health, among many other national and state awards.
Packer said he is “humbled and grateful.”
“Coming to work is fun when you get to work with wonderful people and have a wonderful cause,” he said.
“Everyone on our team works hard and knows their role. We have an amazing team. I love what I do, and this award is especially meaningful in a year that has been full of difficult challenges.”
Cyndi Wallace, nurse administrator at Cedar City Hospital and second in command to Packer, said he brings a “calm, capable, and caring sense of leadership to the Executive Team at Cedar City Hospital.”
“His decisions are highly respected, especially within the administrative team at Intermountain, because he takes time to consider all of the aspects and consequences before he makes a decision and a statement,” Wallace said. “Often, he has been able to see something that I had not thought of, and his wisdom is greatly appreciated. He has a subtle but wickedly funny sense of humor, once you get to know him, and he brings a much-needed laugh and lift to all of us.”
Wallace said because of the extremely important they do at the hospital, it can sometimes be a heavy burden to bear, but Packer’s leadership “helps us to be our very best.”
“He is always thinking about the caregivers that work at Cedar City Hospital, and their needs, and responds to them with care and concern.”
Joe Mott, vice president and Chief Operating Officer with Intermountain Healthcare Specialty-Based Care, who is over the administrators of all the hospital with Intermountain, called the role of an administrator is “an extremely complex one.”
“You are faced with incredibly challenging financial situations, as well as managing a large workforce, meeting tight budgets, working with so many moving pieces like the medical staff and the Governing Board, doing community outreach, and managing all your quality, safety and access metrics, and keeping staff engaged, and more,” Mott said, adding the following about Packer:
Eric is doing all of this exceptionally well. He always brings good thought and analysis to his work and decision-making and addresses complex needs very directly but very appropriately and fairly, with much thought and analysis. He solves problems in a professional, high-standard way. I have total confidence in his leadership, and I am grateful he has received this award.
Ashley Moretz, director of the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health with the Utah Department of Health who presented the award to Packer, said he was eating at a local restaurant and told the server he was in town to present the award to Packer.
“It took me back a bit when the response from our server was, ‘Oh yes, Cedar City Hospital! I love our hospital! It’s so great. All my family and friends have used that hospital and have had a great experience!’” Moretz said “It was a testament to me about how significant this hospital is to the community. To have this unsolicited testimonial from a community member reflects the hospital’s standing here, and was to me one more data point that this award is going to the right person.”
About Eric Packer
Eric Packer has served as Intermountain Cedar City Hospital’s CEO and administrator since April of 2016. Prior to that Packer served as the administrator at Bear River Valley Hospital in Tremonton for 12 years.
Packer was raised in Fillmore, Utah, and moved with his family to St. George as his father became the assistant administrator at Dixie Regional Medical Center. Packer graduated from Dixie High School in 1983 and then attended Southern Utah University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing.
He went on to earn his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. Other accomplishments include obtaining a Health Facility Administrators License, completing the FEMA Healthcare Leadership Course and a Health Management Academy GE Fellowship.
Packer was also instrumental in working with the state of Utah to bring a mammography outreach program to rural Utah, serving Piute, Beaver, Garfield and Kane counties.
Packer started his career with Intermountain in 1989 when he was hired to serve as the director of outpatient services for Evanston Regional Hospital. From that time he has been the CEO and administrator at Garfield Memorial Hospital and Clinics, Administrator of the Bear River Valley Care Center, CEO of Bear River Valley Hospital, and now CEO of Cedar City Hospital.
Packer is very committed to the community and services on the Iron County Children’s Justice Center Board, Southern Utah University College of Science and Engineering Board, the Utah TeleHealth Network Advisory Council and the Southwest Technical College Board.
He and his wife, Sandy, have been married 33 years and have four daughters and seven grandchildren. He enjoys camping, hunting, especially duck hunting, mountain biking and fishing.
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