Rick Naegler has been named market CEO of Northwest Health and CEO of Northwest Medical Center-Springdale, assuming two executive roles vacated this spring, the health system announced Wednesday.
Naegler succeeds Chris York as market CEO. York held the role from January 2022 to May 2023, when he joined Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas as president.
The Springdale hospital had been led by Jose Echavarria since October 2021. He held the position on an interim basis for the first four months of his tenure. In April, Echavarria left to become CEO of Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin, Texas.
Naegler joins Northwest Health from Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where he has been CEO since June 2021. Under his leadership, the 410-bed hospital grew its market share in all service lines, recruited numerous specialists, and created registered nurse and internal medicine residency programs, Northwest Health said in a news release.
Naegler begane his career in health as a U.S. Army medic, according to his LinkedIn page. He brings nearly 30 years of experience to Northwest Health, including a clinical background as a registered nurse and chief nursing officer.
Before joining Poplar Bluff, he was CEO of Lake City Medical Center in Lake City, Florida, where he also held the role of chief nursing officer. He also held chief nursing officer positions at hospitals in Kissimmee, Florida, and Dallas, Texas.
In a statement, Northwest Medical Center Board Chair Dr. Robert Petrino said Naegler's leadership and clinical background made him the "ideal choice" for CEO.
"We welcome Rick and look forward to working with him," Petrino said.
Naegler earned his nursing degree at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, and earned both his bachelor’s in health care management and master’s in health care administration at Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska.