Welcome to Clay County Medical Center

Phone : 785-632-2144 | Patient Portal | ONLINE BILL PAY


Get to know our new CEO

by CEO Austin M. Gillard, MHA


First off, I would like to say ‘thank you’ for the opportunity to become the next CEO of Clay County Medical Center (CCMC). After meeting with the staff and Board of CCMC during my interview, I was very impressed with their focus on providing high quality patient care, their openness to change, and their desire to grow healthcare services provided in Clay County. The former CEO, Ron Bender, is very well respected in Kansas for his dedication to rural healthcare and I appreciate his dedication and years of service to CCMC.

A little about me: I was raised in Stilwell, Kansas with family in Girard, Erie, Parsons and Chanute, Kansas. In my free time, I like to play acoustic guitar, fly single engine airplanes, and work on home remodeling projects. I received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management & Leadership from the University of Kansas and received a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Missouri.

I am married to Michelle, who is a Senior Marketing Analyst for a pharmaceutical marketing agency called Intouch Solutions, based out of Kansas City. Michelle has a great job and can work from home; all she needs is an internet connection. At this time, we do not have children, but do have a black lab named Bailey.

My background in healthcare started in 2008 as a physician recruiter. In this position, I focused on recruiting physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in medical facilities throughout Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. In 2011, I moved into the management and business development side of the healthcare industry. In this role, I was responsible for six hospital emergency room departments in Kansas, Missouri and Hawaii. In total, we oversaw 94,000 patient visits a year in our emergency room departments. I also helped staff seven occupational health clinics in the Kansas City area. After about two years in that position, I developed the ‘rural track administrative fellowship’ with the help of many rural healthcare CEO’s in Kansas. Once formalized, I moved to Pratt, Kansas and worked under the CEO of Pratt Regional Medical Center for a year, learning from her insight, knowledge and skill set to run a progressive rural healthcare facility.

In 2013, I was given the opportunity to become the CEO of Genoa Medical Facilities (GMF), located in Genoa, Nebraska. GMF is a multi-facility organization comprised of Genoa Community Hospital, Genoa Long Term Care, and Looking Glass Estates Assisted Living. During my time with GMF, we were able to increase patient days by 16 percent, grow surgeries by 100 percent, and increase net revenue by over 10 percent. I specialize in growing healthcare facilities and building strong relationships with local and surrounding medical providers. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with our current medical staff at Clay Center Family Physicians, Special Delivery, LLC and all of our specialty medical providers that are providing services at CCMC on an outpatient basis.

I was interested in CCMC and the Clay Center community for several reasons. Most importantly, Michelle and I would like to start a family in the next year and we wanted a place to call ‘home’. When touring Clay Center, we were excited to see the excellent school district, clean parks, and the new pool being built. We could tell this community took pride in their infrastructure by seeing the streets, curbs, and sidewalks being repaired where necessary. We also like the fact that we will only be around two hours from family located near Overland Park, Kansas.

I have an interest in rural healthcare due to the current struggles facing the rural healthcare environment. Healthcare is an ever-changing environment with new government regulations, payments being cut from Medicare and Medicaid, and the list could go on and on. Collaboration within healthcare is just a small part of the spectrum. Hospitals for instance typically include tens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees, volunteers, and physicians. Hospitals have to collaborate with their board members and the communities, in which they serve. Furthermore, hospitals have to structure referral sources, establish post-acute care settings, and negotiate with suppliers and other supporting services.

I look forward to meeting members of the community and being involved in several civic organizations. My door at CCMC will always be open to community members, feel free to stop by and say hello.