New Ventura County med center CEO has roots in region
Although Kim Milstien unexpectedly resigned from her position as CEO of Simi Valley Hospital last November, she will remain a major player in the region’s health care services as the chief executive at Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital.
The Ventura County Health Care Agency announced Feb. 9 that Milstien will succeed Cyndie Cole, who resigned in September after a 29-year career at the county-run hospitals. Milstien will assume the position March 1.
The role will take her from overseeing Simi Valley Hospital’s 144-bed facility to leading 1,432 employees across Santa Paula Hospital and VCMC, which is undergoing a $305 million renovation project scheduled to wrap up in 2017.
“We are extremely fortunate to find someone with Ms. Milstien’s experience, particularly at such an important time in Ventura County Medical Center’s history,” Barry Fisher, director of the county’s health care services, said in a statement. “I am very confident that her background, experience and personal qualifications make her a perfect choice to help us steer our hospital into the future.”
Fisher told the Business Times that the organization didn’t reach out to Milstien until after she had stepped down from Simi Valley Hospital. But, he said he reached out to her personally once the agency began interviewing candidates to see if she was interested.
Fisher said Milstien was an attractive candidate because “she’s local, she knows our system, and she’s very experienced as a hospital administrator. I’d expect her to take the reins and do what she does best.”
Santa Paula Hospital is a full-service acute care facility with 49 beds, while VCMC is a fully integrated public health system providing hospital, clinic and specialty services across Ventura County.
Milstien became CEO of Simi Valley Hospital in 2012 and oversaw the development and improvement of numerous hospital programs, including the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, the country’s first hybrid treatment and imaging lab. The hospital also began a transition toward a community-wide network of health services with its acquisition of four private practices under a division of its Medical Foundation.
Caroline Esparza, the center’s chief nursing executive, has been serving as its interim president and CEO since Milstien’s departure in November. Esparza, who has been with the hospital since 2004, previously served as interim CEO for a period in 2012 before Milstien’s hire.
Prior to joining Simi Valley Hospital, Milstien had worked with its parent company, Adventist Health, for 16 years, most recently as vice president of business development at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Though born in Canada, her husband, Dave, was raised in Simi Valley.
The couple relocated to the city in 1996 following Dave’s retirement from a professional baseball career that had led the couple across the globe. Kim began volunteering at Simi Valley Hospital while awaiting her green card. Once it learned of her predicament, Adventist Health helped speed the immigration process and offered her a permanent position.
Alicia Gonzalez, a representative for Simi Valley Hospital, said the organization is thankful for Milstien’s service and wishes her well.
Milstien holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a master’s degree from La Sierra University in Riverside.