Robert L. Mullen, FACHE, the CEO of Hospital District #1 of Rice County in Lyons, has been awarded the Charles S. Billings Award by the members of the Kansas Hospital Association. He will be honored on Nov. 10 during the KHA Annual Convention and Trade Show in Topeka.
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 truly shown their commitment, leadership and dedication to that noble pursuit. Mullen, the 31st recipient of this award, has certainly demonstrated these qualities during his devoted health care career that has spanned over three decades.
Mullen has served as CEO for the Hospital District #1 of Rice County since April 19, 1982, a remarkable 28 years. He has seen the hospital through many changes in the health care system: the beginning of the DRG system; the establishment of the Critical Access Hospital program; the preparation for reform implementation; and most recently, the completion of a major construction project. During all that time, Bob has never lost sight of the importance the community hospital plays in the lives of the people who depend on it.
Prior to arriving in Lyons, Mullen was the hospital administrator at Edwards County Hospital and Healthcare Center in Kinsley from 1978-1982. He also served as the administrator of Comanche County Hospital in Coldwater from 1977-1978.
Mullen’s service to his community and state has been impressive. From the Rotary Club to the Lyons School Board to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Board, he has been quick to offer his time and energy. In addition, he has been a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives since 1991 as well as a Regent for Kansas.
“Bob’s involvement with KHA is a tremendous example of his willingness to give of himself,” said Tom Bell, KHA President and CEO. “He has chaired almost every entity in the KHA family of organizations: the Kansas Health Education and Research Foundation Board in 2010; the Kansas Health Service Corporation Board in 2003; and the KHA Board in 1989.
Mullen has served as the South Central district chairman and has been involved in many KHA councils, committees and task forces. But beyond any official positions he has held within KHA, he has been an important part of KHA’s advocacy efforts, always taking the time to make sure his elected officials knew how proposals affected his hospital.
“When you consider everything Bob has given to KHA, it is quite simply impossible to think of anyone more deserving of this honor,” said Bell. “I have had the pleasure of knowing Bob Mullen for as long as I have worked at KHA, and I’ve seen firsthand all of the qualities that have made him successful - his ability to work with people who have different personalities and philosophies, his common sense and good judgment, and his great sense of humor. I know that I have done a better job because of Bob’s advice and counsel, and I suspect there are many people across the state who can say the same thing.”
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 204 member facilities, of which 127 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.”