The incoming president and CEO of Hays Medical Center is no stranger to the area.

“As everyone describes it, we are the Herrmans from Liebenthal, and for my grandmother’s side, we’re the Drehers from Schoenchen. That’s the family lineage,” Edward Herrman said in a phone interview Tuesday from Enid, Okla., where he is president of Integris Bass Baptist Health Center.

His parents were raised in La Crosse, and he still has cousins and aunts and uncles in the area.

Herrman was announced as the new HaysMed leader Monday morning. He will start Oct. 26, spending the rest of the year working alongside Dr. John Jeter, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

“That’s definitely a huge benefit, having access to Dr. Jeter to talk about anything that I might have questions about between now and the end of the year,” Herrman said.

“He’s done an amazing job and has an amazing legacy of what he has been able to put in place in Hays.”

HaysMed is a “shining star” in western Kansas, he said, and it’s for that reason, along with his family ties, that he applied for the job.

“That’s where my family is at, so I care about the ability of them to be able to go and get good quality care where they live without having to travel to Wichita or Kansas City. They can get high-quality technical care right here in Hays,” he said.

The challenges he sees for HaysMed in the future are not unlike what he’s dealt with in Enid — recruitment for specialty care physicians and providing adequate primary care.

The town of approximately 49,000 is in north-central Oklahoma, and Bass, a nonprofit, faith-based hospital, has 207 beds through three facilities — the main facility, a long-term acute care facility and a behavioral health facility. It is one of two hospitals in Enid.

The private, nonprofit HaysMed is the only hospital in Hays, with 207 beds and is the supporting hospital for 24 critical access hospitals throughout northwest Kansas.

In January, HaysMed partnered with the University of Kansas Health System.

“Knowing the University of Kansas Health System is looking to grow their system and their impact on Kansans in general was a nice addition to it,” he said. “It gives you access to additional resources and things that were probably a little more difficult to get access to being a standalone like HaysMed was for so many years.”

Herrman’s background is in nursing. Prior to becoming president at Bass, he was the hospital’s chief nursing officer from 2008 to 2011. In 2011, he took a nurse leadership role at Integris Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City, returning to Enid in 2013.

He attended one year at Garden City Community College and went on to receive a bachelor of science in nursing from Oklahoma City University and a master of business administration/healthcare administration from the University of Phoenix.

It was in nursing school where he met his wife, Ashley. They married after graduation and worked as traveling nurses in California. During that time, Ashley had the opportunity to work as one of former President Ronald Reagan’s private duty nurses for approximately three-and-a-half years until he died.

“After that, we were ready to move a little closer to home and start having children,” Herrman said.

They have three children — daughter Amelia, 11, and sons Landon, 9, and Dalton, 6. They and their mother will stay in Enid until the end of the school semester, Herrman said.