The award recognizes the accomplishments of small or rural hospital leaders who have improved health care delivery in their communities through innovative and progressive efforts. Starling was recognized "as a widely respected leader who fosters strong collaborative relationships that improve the health care of the rural community," says a press release from the American Hospital Association.
Serving a community of approximately 15,000 that covers several counties for the last 30 years, Starling has forged statewide partnerships, updated the Catholic Health Partners facility, provided leadership in initiatives such as Project HOME (Helpful Opportunities for Medical Care Enhancement), helped to connect uninsured and under-insured patients with preventive services, developed partnerships resulting in the first rural community lung-cancer screening and breast-cancer awareness and screening, and in 2010 provided "groundbreaking direction" for her hospital to be certified as the first Level IV trauma center in Kentucky, the release says.
Starling also received the Kentucky Rural Health Association’s Dan Martin Award for her dedication to rural health care in Kentucky in 2012, according to the release, and was recognized by the AHA's political action committee as its Most Valuable Player for her significant outreach and advocacy efforts. UPDATE, 2/23/14: Becker's Hospital Review included Starling in its initial list of "50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know."