Press Release



Contact:          Carly Moore,, (202) 638-5487       

Marie Watteau,, (202) 626-2351



Harold L. Krueger, Jr. Receives AHA’s Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Award

Finalists from Freeport, Ill., Yuma, Co., and

Prairie du Chien, Wis. also Recognized


WASHINGTON (November 25, 2014) – Harold L. Krueger, Jr., CEO of Chadron Community Hospital & Health Services (CCH&HS) in Chadron, Neb. is the 2014 winner of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Award. The award recognizes the accomplishments of small or rural hospital leaders who have improved health care delivery in their communities through innovative and progressive efforts.


With more than 40 years of experience in health care management and 20 years of service to CCH&HS, Krueger is an important community leader in western Nebraska. CCH&HS serves patients from rural areas in Nebraska, eastern Wyoming and southern South Dakota, as well as the Pine Ridge Native American reservation. Additionally, the hospital partners with Chadron State College to provide medical care to students.


One of Krueger’s strengths as a leader is his ability to collaborate and form partnerships. Forming an alliance with other hospital administrators in the area, Krueger was able to secure grants to improve programs such as HIV testing and counseling, immunizations and maternal child health. Additional collaborations led to re-opening the Closer to Home Soup Kitchen in downtown Chadron, the creation of a public dental health clinic and a partnership with the Circle of Life nonprofit to provide financial assistance to patients undergoing cancer treatment. Krueger has made patient safety and quality improvement initiatives an area of particular focus during his time with CCH&HS. The hospital participates in the national Hospital Engagement Network to reduce readmissions and hospital-acquired harm. Through the Nebraska Hospital Association-led Patient Safety Network, CCH&HS has seen improved patient hospital experience scores.


Krueger is a United States Army Vietnam veteran and holds master’s degrees in health services and business administration. He is a published author and college lecturer on medical ethics and death and dying — topics that inspire his work to serve the needs of the aging population. Additionally, he serves on the AHA Region 6 Policy Board, is a founder and current vice president of the Rural Health Care Association and is a member of numerous community boards and foundations.


This year, the Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Award also recognized three finalists for their significant achievements in service to their community:


  • Michael R. Perry, M.D., president and CEO of FHN Memorial Hospital, Freeport, Ill., began his career at FHN as a family physician nearly 35 years ago. Today, he continues to lead organizational improvement and excellence for this regional health care system that serves the people of northwest Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Through his leadership, FHN teamed with community physicians to collaborate on the availability of care for the community. FHN opened a community health center to provide care for the uninsured and underinsured citizens of an area that has a high unemployment rate.
  • John Gardner, CEO of Yuma District Hospital in Yuma, Co. joined this 12-bed critical access hospital in 2007 and faced a host of challenges. Under his tenure as CEO, Gardner secured United States Department of Agriculture loans to help finance construction of a new hospital, established a culture of open communication and sought patient-centered medical home status for the hospital’s two rural health clinics. The new health park has walking paths and outside exercise equipment for all citizens and patients, including those with chronic diseases, disabilities and rehabilitation needs. Gardner collaborated with outside groups to make student loan repayment funds available in order to successfully recruit physicians.
  • William P. Sexton, CEO of Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien, Wis. was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Medical Service Corps before he became a hospital administrator. Sexton holds two master’s degrees in health care and business administration and served as president of the National Rural Health Association. At Crossing Rivers Health, formerly known as Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital, Sexton implemented the Lean system for the 25-bed critical access hospital. Crossing Rivers expanded under his leadership to include two clinics, as well as home health, hospice and a family resource center. Sexton’s planning skills helped bring the community a new medical center and he successfully implemented a quality dashboard and reporting mechanisms.


Shirley Ann Munroe Award

Shirley Ann Munroe was an advocate for small and rural hospitals and was instrumental in the creation of the AHA’s Section for Small or Rural Hospitals, a forum working to support small and rural hospitals as they improve their community’s health.


The award is sponsored by the AHA’s Section for Small or Rural Hospitals. It is presented annually to a hospital administrator or chief executive officer who has displayed outstanding leadership in meeting the ongoing challenge of small or rural hospital management. Last year’s award recipient was Susan L. Starling, president and CEO of Marcum and Wallace Memorial Hospital in Irvine, Ky.

About AHA

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, and other providers of care, and 43,000 individuals. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at





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