Rick Johnson, CEO of River Hills Community Health Center, was recognized for his long career in the health center profession by receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Iowa Primary Care Association Nov. 3.

Johnson, who will be retiring soon from the health center and was last week elected Ottumwa's next mayor, has spent almost 50 years in the health care industry, the last 16 as the CEO at River Hills. Prior to that, he had a long career with the Iowa Department of Human Services, and then helped lead a group in 1998 to create River Hills, which opened in 2000.

The award was established by the Iowa PCA five years to identify individuals who devote a significant portion of their career to the community health center program.

Each year, the Iowa PCA recognizes outstanding individuals for their contributions to Iowa's community health centers. They are recognized for their dedication to the health center movement and for their extraordinary work on behalf of their peers, patients and community.

During Johnson's tenure, River Hills grew from a staff of 12 to close to 200, and expanded its footprint to 10 clinics in Centerville, Richland, Oskaloosa, Fairfield and Sigourney. River Hills is the fourth-largest community health center in the state.

In 2018, Johnson received the Iowa PCA's Carl Kulczyk Memorial Award, which recognizes individuals who have "made outstanding contributions to his or her organization during the course of his or her tenure at the health center."

Recently, River Hills received "community health quality recognition" from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which included the Silver Award to recognize River Hills's achievement of being in the top 11 to 20% of health centers for achieving the best overall clinical quality measure performance among health centers across the country.

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