When news broke Friday of The Memorial Hospital CEO George Rohrich’s resignation, it most likely received a very mixed reaction from members of the Moffat County community.
As evidenced by comments from current and former TMH employees, those made by residents during open meetings, and letters to the editor sent to this newspaper, many people saw Rohrich as either the root of a serious problem at TMH or as a hardworking administrator responsible for the hospital’s growth and success.
Either way, Rohrich’s influence on TMH and healthcare in Moffat County is undeniable.
Since taking over as CEO in January 2006, he steered the hospital through the process of getting voter approval and funding for a new hospital building, and was instrumental in planning for and moving into the new facility, which has had a vastly positive effect on healthcare in the region.
Additionally, TMH has received several awards during Rohrich’s time as CEO, most recently earning the Top Large Business award from the Craig Chamber of Commerce for 2011, being named as one of the top places to work in health care by Becker’s Hospital Review in early 2012, and receiving the distinction of Best Performing Critical Access Hospital from Quorum Health Resources, TMH’s management company, in the middle of last year.
Rohrich also helped TMH expand the medical services it provided while becoming more involved with the community, like helping to organize the Colorado State BBQ Championships at Craig, a nationally sanctioned barbecue event that was named the best Rocky Mountain BBQ Association CUP event in 2012.
The residents of Moffat County should appreciate Rohrich for all of these positives, regardless of personal opinion.
As QHR and TMH’s Board of Trustees move forward with the hugely important task of finding a new CEO, we hope they — as well as whomever they choose for the job — remember the importance of transparency and accountability when it comes to dealing with public perception.
The community conversation and flood of response we saw after featuring a three-part series that examined the issue of physician retention at TMH and its effect on the public featured passionate opinions expressed by both sides.
And while those angry with TMH administrators cited many specific examples that explained their experiences and feelings, it seemed that the issues behind those examples went unaddressed. Instead, the blame was placed at the feet of the most outspoken citizens.
Are we suggesting the TMH administration should have bent to the will of those who were upset with them?
Not at all.
We do contend, however, that addressing the issues raised by the complaints — accepting responsibility for any mistakes and explaining misconceptions that may have lead to the perception of mistakes — would have been the right way to handle the situation.
The people of Moffat County are passionate about the quality of health care they can receive here at home. Being able to effectively communicate with those in charge of providing that care can only serve to improve the situation for everyone involved.