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Friel Tapped For Catalina Post
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The former Oak Valley Hospital CEO, John Friel, will be taking the helm at Catalina Island Medical Center in Avalon, California.

Friel, 67, will be replacing the current chief executive officer, Bryan Ballard, who is retiring this year. Friel starts his new position on July 9.

The medical center, located on Catalina Island, provides 24-hour inpatient services and medical care to the island’s 4500 residents and millions of visitors. It has over 60 employees and an annual budget of over $8 million.

“It’s like Oak Valley Hospital, but on a smaller scale,” said Friel. “A lot of what I developed over my career and at Oak Valley is applicable over there.”

Friel said he became interested in the position when he heard Ballard was retiring and contacted the recruitment firm searching for a replacement.

“One interview led to another,” Friel said. “I’m very excited to take on this new endeavor.”

Friel began as Oak Valley’s CEO in October 2002. He was instrumental in getting a new $69 million hospital built that is scheduled to open this July.

After the election of three new board members in November 2010, Friel faced disapproval and a rift with the governing board. He was placed on paid leave in October 2011 for the remaining four months of his contract.

“I wish him the best,” said OVH Board President Dan Cummins. “I’m happy to see he found something he was looking for.”

Friel said some of the challenges he expects to face are some of the conditions that will accompany health care reform.

“There will be typical challenges facing every community,” Friel said. “I’m waiting with bated breath to see the outcome of the hearings.”

Friel’s contract with Catalina Medical Center is for three years at an annual salary of $210,000. The medical center, formerly known as Avalon Municipal Hospital and Clinic, is owned and governed by the City of Avalon.