Kern Medical CEO Announces Retirement

Kern Medical CEO Announces Retirement

In an announcement today, the Kern County Hospital Authority’s CEO Russell Judd is planning to retire at the end of the year.

The full release can be seen below:

After eight successful years as the Kern County Hospital Authority’s CEO, Russell V. Judd plans to retire on December 1, 2021. His leadership and commitment enabled the remarkable turnaround of the medical center and the formation of the Hospital Authority, which owns and operates Kern Medical.

“Kern Medical has always held a special place in my heart. I began my career here as an administrative fellow in 1991. The dedication of its physicians and staff at that time taught me the importance of caring for everyone –patients, families, and caregivers,” said Judd.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors asked Judd to return in December 2013 to bring financial stability to the then struggling hospital. He had been serving as the President of Dignity Health’s two Mercy hospitals in Bakersfield for the previous 10 years. Prior to working at Dignity, he served as CEO at three different hospitals across the country for Community Health System.

Under Judd’s leadership, the Kern County Hospital Authority was formed by the State legislature and the Kern County Board of Supervisors to enable it to better fulfill its three-part mission as the area’s only teaching hospital, trauma and specialty center, and designated safety net hospital. The formation of the Hospital Authority was a vital step to continue Kern Medical’s mission.

The County of Kern transferred the ownership and operations of Kern Medical to the Hospital Authority on July 1, 2016. Kern Medical continued its successful trajectory and financial position by recruiting over 70 new full-time faculty physicians across many different specialties, adding physician residency training slots and a new fellowship program, creating the Valley Fever Institute, and establishing seven new clinic locations across the community.

“I am sad for Russell’s retirement, but I am also excited for Kern Medical’s future,” said Board Chair Russell Bigler, who has served as the Board Chair since the formation of the Hospital Authority. “He has enabled Kern Medical to continue its vital role in our community’s health care infrastructure,” continued Bigler.

The Kern County Hospital Board of Governors has appointed Scott Thygerson as the incoming CEO effective on Judd’s retirement. Thygerson has over 25 years of experience as a health care executive and consultant in strategic planning, operations, and development, including serving at Dignity Health, Trinity Health, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield

Association. Thygerson came with Judd to Kern Medical where he served as the organization’s Chief Strategy Officer and then became its President of Hospital and Clinic Operations in November 2019. Thygerson earned a Master of Health Administration from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University.