Case Study

HFS Consultants Completed a Rural Hospital CEO Search


Plumas District Hospital is a 25-bed acute care, critical access hospital, with a rural health clinic and outpatient services, located in Quincy, California, near Lake Tahoe. In 2011, the CEO left, and the hospital was seeking someone to fill the position who had experience with a rural hospital, would live in Quincy and be community-oriented.

An individual with his own consulting business was hired to conduct an executive search. It soon became apparent that the search needed to be conducted by someone with more experience and a higher level of expertise.


The hospital had worked with HFS in the past and brought in Don Whiteside, HFS’s managing director of executive search, to handle the project. Whiteside first familiarized himself with the hospital, Quincy and its community, and then worked with the hospital Board and members of the community who comprised the search committee. To interview the five CEO candidates whom Whiteside had identified for interviews, the committee was put into two groups in order to provide varying perspectives and to insure that all questions were asked. Whiteside provided the committee with guidelines for the interviews, sample questions and discussed what the tone and atmosphere should be for the interview setting.


After a six-month long search, Doug Lafferty was chosen by the District Board as CEO of Plumas District Hospital. He has integrated himself into the hospital community as well as the community at large and is highly regarded by Quincy residents. The successful result was due to HFS’s ability to organize the search, handle logistics and provide keen insight into what the hospital and the community were seeking in a CEO.

"Don Whiteside can really understand a community’s needs and can find the executive that will fit for the hospital and the residents."

-Valerie Flanigan, Board President, Plumas District Hospital


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