After 10 years of service as JFK Memorial Hospital’s (JFK) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gary Honts recently retired. The significant progress he made in his tenure will continue under the new leadership of Karen Faulis, CEO of Hi-Desert Medical Center (HDMC), who has expanded her role to include JFK.

Desert Regional Medical Center, JFK and HDMC are the family of hospitals within Desert Care Network (DCN) and managed by Tenet Healthcare where Honts’ career spanned 43 years throughout the country.

“Gary has done so much to advance the services JFK provides the community,” said Michele Finney, CEO of DCN. “His depth of experience in health care leadership and dedication to our staff, our physicians, patients and the community has really made a positive impact.” 

During his tenure, JFK was certified as a Primary Stroke Center, designated as Riverside County’s first Level IV Trauma Center and expanded surgical capabilities to include robotic technology. 

Honts was originally brought in by Tenet to assess the viability for JFK and recognized the potential considering the east valley population growth.  “We’ve made great strides and much of that is because of Gary’s vision,” says Linda Evans, DCN’s chief strategy officer. “He developed a multi-pronged approach based on service and care. He recruited a strong management team and talented medical staff and garnered a lot of respect from the community at large.”  

“I’m extremely proud of the work our team has been able to accomplish at JFK,” said Honts. “Minutes matter when it comes to successfully treating a stroke or trauma. The advancements we have made are enhancing access to high quality care, closer to home for the people in our community.” 

Faulis has been CEO of HDMC since 2016 and has led the hospital in becoming a Level IV Trauma Center and an Acute Stroke-Ready Hospital. “We are so fortunate to have Karen take on the role of CEO at JFK,” adds Finney. “She is a top-notch CEO. She has built up a wealth of knowledge about the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin health care markets that will allow us to continue the progress for our patients at both hospitals.” 

Faulis began her career as a nurse and held various roles in clinical leadership before moving into hospital administration. Prior to HDMC, she was Chief Operating Officer and then Interim CEO for Palmdale Regional Medical Center/Lancaster Community Hospital. 

To support Faulis in her dual CEO role, DCN has promoted Chief Nursing Officer Heather Corte-Real to the role of Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer at JFK. 

Honts will continue in a consulting role through May 1 to support a seamless transition, and he and his wife Cheryl plan to remain in the Coachella Valley. “We’ve made so many friends in the Valley, and I can’t imagine a better place to be,” he adds.

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