Freese-Decker: Young Healthcare Executive award an ‘honor for everybody’


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:00 am on Monday, February 11, 2013

Tina Freese-Decker, president of Spectrum Health United and Kelsey hospitals, speaks at the 2013 Many Hearts One Mission Charity Ball in Grand Rapids Saturday night. She has been named the young healthcare executive of the year and is the first sitting president in Michigan to receive the award. — Daily News/Cory Smith

GREENVILLE — The president of Spectrum Health United and Kelsey hospitals is believed to be the first sitting hospital president in Michigan to receive the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHC) Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award for Young Healthcare Executive of the year.

In March, Tina Freese-Decker, 35, will receive the honor for outstanding achievement in the field of health care management.

The award is given to an exceptional health care executive who is younger than 40, is an ACHE fellow and holds a chief executive officer or chief operations officer position in a health care organization.

“I was speechless,” Freese-Decker said of when she found out not only that she received the honor, but is also believed to be the first sitting president in Michigan to receive the honor.

Freese-Decker said she is “truly blessed” to work with people who care so much about people and the health care system at both Spectrum Health United and Kelsey hospitals.

In receiving the award, Freese-Decker said she had many people who helped her through her career.

“I am thankful for my mentors who have helped me through my career,” she said. “(This award) is an honor for everybody.”

She has been president of the two Spectrum Health hospitals since 2011. She began her career in 2002 as an administrative fellow with Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. She was named director of strategic planning and development and was soon promoted as the department’s vice president. In this role, she led system strategic planning, market intelligence gathering, call center operations and regional hospital network coordination.

Freese-Decker will receive the award on March 12 at the Malcolm T. MacEachern Memorial Lecture and Luncheon during ACHE’s 56th Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago.

“Tina winning this award provides a very prestigious focus on our community and our health care system,” said Karen Carbonelli, Spectrum Health United Memorial Foundation board member.

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