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CentraCare Appoints New Executives; Focuses on Rural Health Care

Published in Media Releases

CentraCare announced today the promotion of four executives and the recruitment of another.

Joy Plamann, DNP has been promoted to Senior Vice President and President of CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital. Plamann, a 26-year veteran of CentraCare - St. Cloud Hospital, assumed her new responsibilities January 1.

Plamann received her BSN in nursing from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, her MBA from the University of St. Thomas and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Pittsburgh. Plamann will report to President and CEO Ken Holman, MD.

Joe Kalkman has been promoted to Chief Administrative Officer for the health system. He will continue to serve as Chief Human Resources Officer, but will now also oversee Strategy, Diversity, Facilities and the CentraCare Foundation.

Kalkman received his BA from St. John’s University and his MA in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota. Kalkman assumed his new role January 1 and will also report to Dr. Holmen.

Matthew Kunkel has accepted the position of Vice President of Specialty Care starting February 15. Matt has served as Vice President at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center @Sansom Clinic in Santa Barbara, California since 2016. Prior to that, he held leadership positions at Stanford Health Care and Sutter Health in California.

At CentraCare, he will oversee Heart and Vascular Services, Neurosciences, Imaging, Pharmacy, Laboratory and operations of the Monticello Cancer Center. Matt’s new role brings him back to Minnesota. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from St. John’s University and his MHA from the University of Minnesota.

Phil Luitjens has been promoted to Vice President of Acute Care, where he will lead Surgery, Hospital Medicine, Women’s and Newborn Health, Transitional Care, Orthopedics and Emergency. Luitjens, who has been with CentraCare since 2005, will begin his new role on February 7.

Luitjens received his BA in Sociology from St. John’s University, an MA in Organizational Behavior from the University of Phoenix and a Mini-MBA in Healthcare Management from the University of St. Thomas.

CentraCare Focuses on Rural Health

Cindy Firkins Smith, MD has been promoted to Vice President of CentraCare’s newly formed Rural Health Division. Dr. Smith joined CentraCare in January 2018 as co-CEO of Carris Health, a subsidiary of CentraCare. She has a 30-year career serving the people of rural Minnesota. “I’m honored to bring my passion for rural health to CentraCare, which has a long history of serving all people in this region, and an understanding of the unique opportunities and challenges of providing health care in rural Minnesota,” said Smith. She received her bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato and MD degree from the University of Minnesota.

“Promotion of several key leaders in the organization reflects the outstanding talent currently existing at CentraCare,” said Holmen. “Each of them has demonstrated excellence in their areas of expertise, as has Matt Kunkel, the newest addition to our team. We are excited for the contributions to come from all of them.”