‚Äč Bear Valley Community Hospital


Retirement Announces June 14th


Bear Valley Community Healthcare District CEO, John Friel set to retire in October 2021 BIG BEAR, CA June-2021- Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, (BVCHD) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), John Friel has announced he will be retiring in October 2021. He made the announcement at the June 9th District Board Meeting. John Friel has been with BVCHD as the CEO since May 2016.   

 John Friel came to the District with nearly 60-years of healthcare experience. He began his career in 1963 as an Orderly at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston, MA. He then continued his education and completed his Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) training at Massachusetts General Hospital, obtained his Registered Nursing License from Lynn Hospital School of Nursing in Lynn, MA and served as a Registered Nurse for the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War.

Following John Friel’s honorable discharge from the United States Air Force, he received his Bachelors Degree from California State Sonoma, followed by a Masters Degree in Public Health from UCLA.  Combining his patient care experience from his years in nursing, and his administration skills from formal education, Mr. Friel went on to serve as CEO at several Acute Care and Critical Access Hospitals throughout the state of California.  

John Friel served as CEO at Catalina Island Medical Center, Oak Valley Healthcare District, and Watsonville Community Hospital. While serving at both Oak Valley and Watsonville, he was instrumental in the building of two replacement hospitals. Oak Valley built a replacement 50-bed hospital and Watsonville built a 100-bed replacement hospital, both while Mr. Friel served as the CEO for the organizations.  

While serving at Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, John Friel has been credited with providing the organization with financial stability and positioning the District to meet upcoming mandated seismic requirements.  While under his leadership, BVCHD has won several awards including but not limited to: 

Best Overall Performance Critical Access Hospital (2019) 

Beta Heart Quality Performance (2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21) 


During his career, Mr. Friel has maintained his fellow status in the American College of  Healthcare Executives (ACHE), served on several statewide healthcare boards with California  Hospital Association (CHA), American College Hospital Association (ACHA), District Hospital  Leadership Forum (DHLF) and as a local board member for the Chamber of Commerce, and United Way. Additionally, he has been a Rotarian since 1979 and has served in several roles in clubs throughout the state.  

After retiring, John Friel and his wife Connie, plan to head north to Aptos, California to be near their two adult sons and their families.  

BVCHD is thankful for the time that John Friel has spent serving here in the Big Bear Valley. He and Connie have been very active in the Big Bear Community, and their commitment to the success of BVCHD has been felt throughout the staff and leadership here at the District. Although he will be missed, BVCHD wishes the Friel’s the best of luck in their next adventure.  

BVCHD is managed by Quorum Healthcare Resources (QHR) and they will be responsible for the candidate search replacing Mr. John Friel. QHR is actively looking for a replacement and information can be obtained by contacting Woody White wwhite@qhr.com