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Published on April 25, 2017

Avera Announces Retirement of Avera McKennan Top Administrator


Avera Health announces the upcoming retirement of Dr. Dave Kapaska, Regional President and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, on June 30, 2017. David Flicek, Chief Administrative Officer of Avera Medical Group has been named President and CEO of Avera McKennan. Flicek will assume leadership duties beginning July 1 and also maintain his current role with Avera Medical Group.  

Dr. Kapaska has served as Regional President and CEO of Avera McKennan since October 2010 – the 16th administrator in the 100-year history of Avera McKennan.  His regional span included the 545-bed tertiary hospital in Sioux Falls, 14 community hospitals, more than 70 primary and specialty care clinics, long-term care facilities, as well as fitness and sports centers.  Dr. Kapaska also sat on the Avera Health Operations Council.  Avera Health includes six regional  health centers,  28 community hospitals, more than 200 clinic locations, 40 senior living facilities, as well as two health insurance companies, the country’s most robust telehealth operation and a multi-state home care agency. Avera Health has health care facilities across the five-state region and provides virtual health services in 15 states.

Dr. Kapaska is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, and went on to earn his master’s of business administration degree from Southern Illinois University, and medical degree from the University of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines, Iowa. He served as pilot in the U.S. Air Force before embarking on a career in both business and medical realms. After spending 10 years in family practice, Dr. Kapaska assumed various hospital administrative roles, including Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at Avera McKennan.

During his tenure, Dr. Kapaska steered the growth of Avera’s primary care market in Sioux Falls, overseeing placement of clinics at Dawley Farms, West Benson Road, 69th and Cliff, and South Marion Road – home of the city and state’s first freestanding Emergency Department. New programs developed under Dr. Kapaska’s leadership include Gamma Knife, dialysis centers, liver transplant, and an Avera-owned orthopedic practice. World-renowned research grew vigorously at Avera under his leadership including cancer genomics, the Netherlands Twins study, Worldwide Innovating Networking (WIN) Consortium, Alumend, and the Avera Family Wellness Program, to name a few.

He was integral in bringing all six Avera cancer centers together as one Avera Cancer Institute that shares expertise and cutting-edge technology across the Avera system. He also shepherded the creation of the state’s only transitional care unit at the Avera Prince of Peace campus in Sioux Falls.

Dr. Kapaska was a champion in establishing Avera eCARE™ eICU® in 2004, which leverages technology to extend critical care expertise to rural locations and allows patients to be cared for near home instead of being transferred. He also played a lead role in starting programs for hospitalists, surgicalists and intensivists, which ensure that dedicated physicians are available in-house for patients with immediate or specialized care needs.

Most recently, Dr. Kapaska was instrumental in developing a vision for the planned Avera on Louise Health Campus at 69th and Louise. This campus will include a surgical hospital, connected medical building and more, and will emphasize specialties including orthopedics and gastroenterology. Dr. Kapaska is currently chair of the board for the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I have always admired Dr. Kapaska’s sense of public service as well as his commitment to the expansion of primary care, improving access to the front door of health care,” said Fred Slunecka, Chief Operating Officer of Avera Health. “Dr. Kapaska has a wonderful rapport with employees, patients and their families – he is affectionately known by all as Dr. K.”

“My years at Avera have been among the most rewarding years of my life and career. I have been contemplating retirement within the next 12 months, and just following the Avera on Louise Health Campus announcement seemed like the perfect time, when I could pass the torch to a new leader who will see this project through to completion in 2020 and beyond,” Dr. Kapaska said.

Flicek has led Avera Medical Group since inception of this group in 2008. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Clinic Operations at Avera McKennan. He has been with Avera for 20 years, and previously worked at Allina Health Systems in the Twin Cities. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Health Administration from The University of South Dakota.

“David Flicek is extremely qualified for this role with 30 years of experience. The integration he has facilitated between clinic and hospital functions of the health system is phenomenal, and David’s appointment to this role will only strengthen these ties and further streamline care for optimal efficiency and the best possible patient experience,” said Dr. Kapaska.

“Dr. Kapaska is leaving big shoes to fill. I look forward to this new challenge and chapter in my career. Avera McKennan has a rich history of service to Sioux Falls and wider region, and I hope to lead in that same spirit of mission while continuing to look to excellence and innovation,” Flicek said.




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