Jacobson resigns; medical center looks for new CEO

For the second time in three years, the Madison County Medical Center is looking for a new director after CEO Loren Jacobson resigned last week.

And though that might seem like a lot of turnover, it is somewhat expected at rural medical centers and the board of directors has planned for it, said board member John Scully.

About three years ago the medical center hired Cyprus Health Care to oversee their operations. The last two CEOs – Jacobson and Tom Mitchell – have both worked for Cyprus and the medical center.

Cyprus will oversee the facility during the transition to a new CEO. The company will also lead the recruitment effort for the position.

Jacobson came to the medical center from a consulting business he had in Missoula. After a time off, he’ll return to his consulting work, which is primarily focused on helping medical institutions get their finances in order.

When he came to the medical center two years ago, the center was struggling financially, Jacobson said. He first started as the center’s chief financial officer and then transitioned to CEO. The main focus was to stabilize the operation.

“It was time for me to declare victory on the turn around and acknowledge that’s what I do best and it was time for the medical center to look for a CEO who will be here long term,” Jacobson said.

Over the past two years, the financial situation of the medical center has improved dramatically and though the immediate future is still going to require vigilance and hard work, the facility is in a much more stable place, he said.

“It’s time for me to move on and for the medical center to find that right person to take it to the next level,” Jacobson said.

Tony Pfaff is the owner of Cyprus Health and he and the medical center board of directors have already planned to interview two candidates to replace Jacobson, Pfaff said Tuesday. One candidate is internal and the other is external but one who Pfaff is familiar with.

Pfaff didn’t expect the process of replacing Jacobson to take very long. His final day at the medical center is Feb. 24.

In the interim time between CEOs, Pfaff will help the board in performing any necessary CEO functions. That’s the benefit of having a company hired to manage the facility, Scully said.

With Cyprus the board of directors has the flexibility to guide the medical center through periods of transition.

“The board felt it was important have as much flexibility as possible going forward because there’s always transition activities,” Scully said.

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