The Telluride Hospital District has announced the hire of Karen Winkelmann, a health care professional with over 20 years in health care management experience, as the new CEO of the Telluride Medical Center, according to a news release.

“Karen is an ideal leader for this position,” said Richard Betts, hospital district chairman. “Her passion for quality health care in our region, and her experience working at many levels of health care management will serve our staff well.”

Winkelmann begins work August 12 and replaces John Gardner FACHE who was brought on as CEO in the spring of 2016 when the Telluride Hospital District anticipated they would soon break ground on a new facility in Mountain Village within two and a half years.

Six months into his tenure, in the fall of 2016, plans for the new facility were scrapped when the wetlands permit process hit a dead end. The Hospital District withdrew its application with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and returned the parcel back to the Town of Mountain Village. The search for a home for a facility began again in earnest.

Presently, the Telluride Hospital District is working to secure a 2.6-acre parcel of land at Society Turn with Genesee Properties for development of a new medical facility. Gardner will stay on in an advisory roll with the Telluride Hospital District through the end of the year to support those efforts.

Winkelmann earned her Bachelor of Science in business management from the University of Houston and holds a master of healthcare administration from C.S.U. Global. She is a founding member and past president of the Western Slope Medical Managers Association and actively participates in several healthcare associations.

Since 2006, Winkelmann has served as CEO at Colorado West Ophthalmology Associates in Montrose. Previous to that she served as CEO for two nursing home organizations in Glenwood Springs and Montrose. Winkelmann, along with her husband Phillip, and two children, have lived on the Western Slope of Colorado for over 20 years.

They anticipate moving to Telluride after their oldest child graduates from Ridgway High School next year.

“The health care industry is changing quickly and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with so many exceptional doctors, nurses, care providers, and staff to make sure everyone who lives in or visits this region has access to exceptional health care,” said Winkelmann.