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Freeman Regional Health Services CEO / Administrator Nick Brandner Retiring

Nov 13, 2020 09:57AM ● By MED Magazine

Freeman Regional Health Service (FRHS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) / Administrator Nick Brandner has announced his November 20, 2020 retirement after serving in that capacity since January 2015. In a letter to FRHS Board Chair Lori Uecker, Brandner noted, “it has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the CEO/Administrator of Freeman Regional Health Services for the past five and a half years. We have developed an outstanding team that I know will continue to excel as you move forward with the building project and the new relationship with Avera”. He went on to inform the staff by saying “It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your CEO ……. The team that we have developed here is nothing short of outstanding. No matter who is chosen to replace me, I am confident that the tremendous Board, providers, leadership team and staff here at FRHS will assure a very successful future.”

Brandner assumed the position of FRHS CEO as an interim in January of 2015 after the departure of Dan Gran. In April of that year, he was asked to continue to serve the role in a permanent capacity. Since taking the top leadership position, Brandner has steered initiatives that have not only sustained but also grown FRHS into one of the premier rural hospitals in the region. He has built a team that he describes as, “one of the best that I have worked with in my 44 year career.”

Brandner started his career as a registered nurse in Orthopedics and Intensive Care at St. Luke’s Hospital in Aberdeen, SD. After obtaining his Master of Public Health and Hospital Administration and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Missouri, Brandner spent twenty years working at Bismarck Hospital / Medcenter One in Bismarck, ND. This employment offered a unique opportunity that permitted him to supervise all of the medical center areas, since departmental oversite was rotated every three to five years. Brandner utilized this role to spearhead his team building and collaboration initiatives, a focus that he emphasized throughout his entire career.

Brandner subsequently spent eight years working for Catholic Health Initiatives. He first served as the Vice President of Patient Care at St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre, SD. He was later promoted to CEO at Albany Area Hospital in Albany, MN. Brandner later served as the administrator at the Redfield, SD hospital prior to taking the CEO position at FRHS.


The FRHS Board is in the process of searching for the next CEO / Administrator. In the interim, Chief Nursing Officer Courtney Unruh and Chief Financial Officer Phil Husher will co-lead the effort to fulfill the duties of this position. Unruh and Husher bring many years of experience in both the clinical and business sectors of the organization.