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Rice Memorial Hospital CEO search to be launched next week

WILLMAR -- The process of finding a new chief executive for Rice Memorial Hospital will be formally launched next week, with a two-day visit by a consulting team to conduct community interviews.

The consultants, of the Witt/Kieffer health care executive search firm, are scheduled to meet with 40 different local groups and individuals while they're in town Monday and Tuesday.

Once the interviews are completed, the consultants will put together a list of needs and priorities that will be developed into a profile of the type of candidate the hospital board should seek.

The city-owned hospital has been without a permanent chief executive since the end of September, when former CEO Lawrence Massa left to become the new executive director of the Minnesota Hospital Association.

Dale Hustedt, the interim chief executive, said this week that there's already interest among potential candidates, even though the position hasn't been formally advertised yet.

"They're already getting information from other hospital administrators and associations for interest in this particular position," he said.

Witt/Kieffer has estimated it'll take four to six months to find and hire a new chief executive for Rice.

The interviews next week will involve a wide range of groups who have a stake in the hospital's future. They include members of the hospital's board of directors, as well as the hospital's executive team and community leaders. Two dozen local physicians also have been asked to participate.

A seven-member search committee was finalized this week to help guide the process and narrow down the candidate list to the finalists.

On the committee are Steve Cederstrom, Richard Engan and Wayne Larson, who all are members of the hospital board; Dr. Mary Amon, a physician with Family Practice Medical Center; Dr. Ronald Holmgren, a physician at Affiliated Community Medical Centers and president of Affiliated; Jim Dokken, a member of the Willmar City Council and the council's liaison to the hospital board; and Jessica Vagle, assistant director and clinical lead for the adult health unit at Rice Hospital.