Jeff Barnhart, FACHE


2022 Pioneer Award Winner


Since joining Deaf Smith County Hospital District in 2016 as CEO, Jeff Barnhart has made it his mission to ensure every resident has access to the care they need, when they need it.

Jeff Barnhart, FACHE

Barnhart oversees operations of Deaf Smith County Hospital District’s hospital, outpatient clinic, and EMS services.

Barnhart never loses sight of the mission to improve the health and quality of life of the individuals and communities DSCHD serves and to be the health care provider of choice for the region. He maintains the necessary big picture, visionary thinking required to run a successful rural hospital while never shying away from the smallest or most menial of tasks if needed to help a patient or team member.

As a registered emergency medical technician, Barnhart maintains an active role in DSCHD’s EMS. During the height of the pandemic, it was not unusual to see him transporting patients to Lubbock, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, and New Mexico. He also lends his expertise in emergency response and trauma care to the Advisory Council on Emergency Medical Services (GETAC), where he has served as an appointee of Governor Abbott since 2016.

In his role as CEO, he has led:

  • Expansion of clinic hours to Saturdays and Sundays to enhance the availability of and access to urgent care and reduce inappropriate and avoidable use of the hospital emergency department.
  • Introduction of podiatry services to the clinic and hospital.
  • Partnerships with Texas Tech Health Sciences Center to bring surgery services to Hereford, make teleICU care available, and leverage drone technology to accelerate safe and rapid organ and tissue procurement for lifesaving treatments.
  • Expansion of outpatient hospital services, including wound care and transfusion services, to better meet the needs of patients with diabetes and other complex needs.
  • Expansion of the DSCHD WorkSmart program to include an employee wellness program to better meet the health care needs of local employers and employees.
  • Implementation of a community paramedicine program, integrating inpatient, EMS, outpatient, and social work services, to bring post-hospitalization care to the community to reduce readmissions and improve outcomes. In its most recent assessment of the program, the state Office of Rural Health described the program as, “representative of a mobile integrated healthcare service” with “the ability to provide chronic disease education, address the needs of various of socioeconomic groups, develop appropriate documentation protocols, establish care pans, establish visit guidelines, determine enrollment guidelines, and establish reporting cadence.”

During his time at DSCHD, staff have been recognized for various achievements, such as Texas State EMS Director of the Year, Top 25 Nurses in the Texas Panhandle and Hereford Citizen of the Year.

Please join us in congratulating Jeff Barnhart as the winner of the 2022 Pioneer Award.


Created by THA’s Rural Hospital Constituency Council, the Pioneer Award honors a rural hospital administrator or CEO who demonstrates creative and innovative leadership in the organization and community he or she serves.

Every year since 2004, THA has honored one rural hospital CEO with the Pioneer Award. Each recipient has set a standard of excellence in leadership and community service that exemplifies THA’s commitment to the health care industry.