MHS Respiratory Care Director, Eric Kohn will retire today, Monday, January 13, 2020. After a thirty-seven year career in respiratory therapy, Kohn is ready to move on to other things. “I am sure my wife, Debra, will have a list of honey do’s for me,” Kohn said with a smile. “I have also signed up to be a volunteer for the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief. So, we will just have to wait and see where that leads me.”
Kohn says his wife plans to retire from her job as the School to Career Coordinator at Salina South in 2021. “We have two grandchildren, who don’t live too far away, and we have a new puppy, Riley, who will keep me busy until my wife retires in another year.”
Taking care of others is how Kohn has spent his entire professional career. Even as a director, he says he never gave up time working with patients because he did not want to lose touch with what his staff was doing and he enjoys people and building relationships with his hospital coworkers.
“Eric has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the respiratory care department, and has done an excellent job working with his staff to ensure he leaves them prepared for a successful future,” Chief Nursing Officer, Angie Johnson said. “I will miss his ability to have a quick, witty joke during morning huddle time on particularly challenging days. He really enjoys his grandkids, and has some super interesting hobbies – I’m excited for him to get to spend more time enjoying these things!”
Kohn came to MHS in the summer of 2008 as a part-time respiratory therapist. “I would fill in as they needed me,” he said. In 2009, he became the director of the department. “At the time, respiratory care was a very small department, with one full-time therapist, one PRN therapist, and one LPN on staff.”
Over the past 10 years, Kohn has seen the respiratory department grow in size and services. “We’ve doubled our staff size and offer more services to provide our patients with the local care they need,” Kohn said. Respiratory care oversees the cardiac rehabilitation program, the sleep lab, and they work closely with the obstetric unit at Memorial Hospital to provide infants with respiratory care when needed. “We’ve built strong relationships with our physicians, APPs, and nursing staff, and we are proud to be able to help them provide patients with excellent health care; we make a great team because we all work well together.”
Kohn says he is very comfortable about leaving the respiratory care department in the hands of Matt Mead, who he has worked with since 2010. “Matt is an instant fit for this role,” Kohn said. “I am glad Matt wanted to take on this position because I feel like he is the best person for the job… why would we look outside of the organization for a new director when we have a great leader right here in the department?”
Mead is no stranger to the way Kohn has led the department, “I am proud and heavily invested in the organization,” Mead said. “I am looking forward to continue building our department and adding services for our patients.”
“Respiratory care is a small part of health care in Abilene, but it is a great feeling to be able to help the community be healthy, and know we will see our patients out and about in Abilene, as they are our friends and neighbors too,” Mead said.
“I’m excited for this opportunity for Matt,” MHS Chief Nursing Officer, Angie Johnson said.” “He’s going to be a great leader for the Respiratory department, and the energy he brings is simply awesome! He’s truly committed to MHS and the community, and I’m excited to work with him as a manager.”
Matt and his wife, Keely, have three daughters Ashley (12), Kristin (almost 10), and Shannon (6), and a dog named Turbo.