Michael Rust retires as head of Kentucky Hospital Association; Nancy Galvagni was appointed new president and CEO in May

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Michael T. Rust, who led the Kentucky Hospital Association for 24 years, has retired.

Rust said it was a privilege to have worked for the KHA for 24 years, and attributed the bulk of his success to his communication and listening skills.

Michael T. Rust

“You can be the smartest person in the world, but you’ve got to stay in touch with these guys, the administrators and the hospitals, and you’ve got to listen to them,” he said. “And that I think was the biggest part of my career, that I really listened to these guys. I may not have had the answer all of the time, but at least I listened and got back to them and communicated with them pretty well.”

Rust added that one of his greatest accomplishments was that he was able to recruit and maintain 100 percent of the state’s 127 hospitals as members of the association, which he said is quite rare among hospital associations.

Rust said he came to Kentucky by way of Florida, where he had been the senior vice president of the Florida Hospital Association. He worked there for 13 years. Prior to that he served as an administrator of a small rural hospital and the vice-president of operations for a 300-bed hospital, both in West Virginia.

He was also a member of the American College of Health Care Executivesand became a fellow of that organization in 1998. In 2001, he was elected to the Council of Regents, the legislative body of the American College of Health Executives.

Asked about challenges facing Kentucky hospitals, Rust said the state’s shift from a fee-for-service payment system to a “value-based” system in Medicaid remains a big challenge, largely because 70 percent of Kentucky’s patients are covered by a government payor whose payments to hospitals don’t cover the full cost to treat patients.

He said the state also struggles with healthcare workforce shortages, but “The hospitals of Kentucky are resilient and staffed with outstanding leadership and the highest quality providers. I have the utmost faith that they will face all these challenges head on and continue to succeed at providing outstanding health care for every citizen of the commonwealth.”

Nancy Galvagni

Nancy Galvagni was appointed KHA’s new president and chief executive officer in May. “I am pleased to pass the baton to Nancy Galvagni as I know she will serve the association and its members with distinction,” Rust said.

Galvagni joined KHA since 1979 and was senior vice president for the past 20 years, She has served as the executive director of the Kentucky Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, a federally certified patient safety organization and a subsidiary of KHA.

Galvagni is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, is a past president of the Kentucky Society for Health Care Planning and Marketing and is a member of the American Association of Hospital Accounts. Prior to joining KHA, she worked at the New York Hospital Association. 

KHA represents hospitals, related health-care organizations and integrated health-care systems. It is celebrating its 90th year. Galvagni is only the fourth chief executive officer in its history.