Coffey Health System Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hernandez was recently appointed to the board of directors of the American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity (IDHE).In a letter of confirmation, IDHE Interim President Cynthia Washington wrote, “We are confident that your competencies, experience and passion will be an asset to our board as we chart a new path to the future. We are excited about the prospect of your leadership at a time when the need for advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in health care has been amplified by persistent disparities in care and health and rising racial tensions across the country.”Hernandez champions rural healthcare on the local, state, and national levels. He has served on nearly every committee of the Kansas Hospital Association and was the first minority to serve as the board chair in the over 100-year history of the association. He served two terms in that position. He also spent six years on the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board 6.He was named to the board of directors for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas in 2012 and currently is vice chair. He also leads the compensation committee, the hospital advisory committee and is a member of the governance committee. He is set to assume the chair position in 2019 for the state’s largest insurance company and once again will be the first minority to ever hold that position.His recent three-year appointment to the American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity Board of Directors represents an opportunity for him to continue to help direct change on a national stage.“I am excited to be joining this board for at least the next three years,” Hernandez said. “I look forward to having the opportunity to directly affect change in hospitals and health systems across the nation as we continue working on diversity and health equity. I have followed this group since its inception and to become a part of it is a true honor.”Hernandez was named CEO of Coffey Health System in Burlington, Kansas, in September of 2015. He previously spent more than 25 years as a healthcare CEO at hospitals throughout rural Kansas. In addition to Coffey Health System, he was CEO at Sumner Regional Medical Center, Wellington; Morton County Health System in Elkhart; Holton Community Hospital, Holton; Plainville Rural Hospital, Plainville; and Wichita County Health Center in Leoti. He successfully implemented five hospital conversions from prospective payment to cost-based reimbursement.Within the past year, Coffey Health System earned national and state recognition throughout the organization. Coffey County Hospital and Sunset Manor long-term care both earned five-star ratings from the Center for Medicare Services. Sunset Manor also earned a zero-deficiency state survey was also ranked number two among 331 nursing homes in Kansas. Zero-deficiency surveys were also attained by the hospital’s radiology and mammography departments and The Meadows, the system’s assisted living division. Coffey County Hospital also achieved Critical Access Hospital Certification and DNV-GL national accreditation.Hernandez is a member of the National Rural Health Association and has been recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of America’s “Rural Hospital CEOs to Know” for 2016, 2017 and 2018.