NEW PORT RICHEY — When Morton Plant North Bay lost its chief administrator to a larger hospital in South Florida, executives replaced him with a steady hand who has a long-term track record of success in the Tampa Bay area.
Hal Ziecheck, who has been the chief of Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater for 16 years, will replace John Couris, 42, who was recently named chief executive officer of Jupiter Medical Center.
Ziecheck will start his new position July 27.
"Part of our strategy for the future is to reach out and serve areas that are developing and growing, and Pasco County is central to our mission," Glenn Waters, president of Morton Plant Mease Health Care, said in a news release. "We are fortunate that Hal has agreed to bring his experienced and forward-thinking leadership to continue Morton Plant North Bay's work as a committed leader in advancing superior health care for the Pasco County community."
Ziecheck has been responsible for bringing Morton Plant through its master site plan process, which has included the creation of the Morgan Heart Hospital, the Ptak Orthopedic and Neurosciences Pavilion, and plans for the Axelrod Pavilion and the Doyle Women's and Children's Health Initiative. Earlier, he led the development of the Morton Plant's center for outpatient cardiac care, the Cheek-Powell Heart and Vascular Pavilion and also helped bring medically-based fitness to Pinellas County with the opening of the Morton Plant Mease wellness centers.
Waters also cited Ziecheck's experience in building Morton Plant Mease's cardiology program and said that will be an asset as officials continue to build the cardiology program at the New Port Richey hospital. He will remain in charge of the Morton Plant Mease cardiology program, as well as the health system's pharmacy and facilities departments.
Ziecheck comes at a critical time for Morton Plant North Bay Hospital. It recently completed the $49-million Starkey Medical Tower and a new medical office building that doubled the size of the hospital campus and increased the number of beds by 25 percent. The hospital's expansion continues this year with renovations to the Mitchell Rehabilitation Hospital, the emergency room, and a fitness trail along the hospital's water management area with exercise stations and a new physician's lounge. Morton Plant North Bay and BayCare Behavioral Health will soon open a children's psychiatric hospital in Land O'Lakes on property formally occupied by a private company that provided services to non-violent juvenile offenders.
Ziecheck began his career with Morton Plant Hospital in 1979. He has held a variety of positions including vice president of operations, administrative director of cardiopulmonary services and director of special services.
He has a master's degree in business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne and a bachelor's from Long Island University in New York.
A national search for Morton Plant's new chief operating officer will begin immediately.