It is with pleasure that the Kansas Hospital Association announces Steven D. Wilkinson, President and CEO of Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park has been selected to receive the Charles S. Billings Award. The members of the Kansas Hospital Association will present Wilkinson with the Billings Award on Nov. 15 during the KHA Annual Convention and Trade Show in Overland Park.
The Charles S. Billings Award, named after the association’s first president, was created in 1971 to recognize distinguished service and outstanding contributions to the field of health care in Kansas. The Kansas Hospital Association reserves this award for those who have shown their commitment, leadership and dedication to that noble pursuit. Wilkinson, the 34th recipient of this award, has certainly demonstrated these qualities during his career of more than 30 years.
In 1983, Wilkinson became the Executive Vice President of St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, beginning his distinguished career as a hospital leader. He became the President and CEO of St. Catherine Hospital in 1986. As he embarked on his career in health care, Wilkinson felt an immediate connection and realized the incredible opportunity it provided to positively impact the lives of others. That spark remained as he joined Health Midwest and became the President and CEO of Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park in 1997. In addition, he served as Senior Vice President of Health Midwest, a system of 15 hospitals in the Kansas City area until 2003 when the system was acquired by HCA. He has had many accomplishments in Overland Park, including Menorah’s receipt of the Kansas Award of Excellence, the state’s top quality honor in 2006.
Wilkinson’s service to the Kansas Hospital Association and its member organizations is comprehensive and varied. He served as chairman from 1990-1993 of the Kansas Statewide Task Force on Rural Health Options, which helped to develop the original Essential Access Community Hospital/Rural Primary Care Hospital concept. He also was a member of the KHA/MHA study group that resulted in the creation of the Kansas City Metropolitan Healthcare Association and has since served as chair of the KCMHC.
Wilkinson has been a member of the KHA Workers’ Compensation Fund Board, the Kansas Health Service Corporation Board, the KHA Strategic Planning Committee, and has represented Kansas on the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board. He also served on the KHA Board of Directors from 1990-1996; 2000-2006 and began a third term in 2012. He was KHA Board Chair in 1995.
“Steve is blessed with a deep reservoir of common sense that guides his approach to any situation,” said Tom Bell, KHA President and CEO. “When you combine that with the empathy that he has for others and the civility that is a hallmark of any discussion with Steve, it is no wonder that he has become one of the most well regarded health care leaders in our state.”
Wilkinson has always recognized the importance of grassroots advocacy and has been one of Kansas hospitals’ most respected voices in Topeka and Washington. He has often traveled to Topeka to advocate for hospital issues and has attended most of the AHA annual meetings in Washington over the past 20 years. He received the AHA-PAC/KHA-PAC Most Valuable Player award in 2006 and the AHA Grassroots Champion award in 2009.
The Kansas Hospital Association is a non-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. KHA membership includes 211 member facilities, of which 126 are full-service community hospitals. Founded in 1910, KHA maintains its vision of “an organization of hospitals working together to improve access, quality and the affordability of health care for all Kansans.”