The Memorial Hospital Interim CEO John Rossfeld familiarizes himself with his new office. Rossfeld, who has more than 30 years of hospital administration experience, started at TMH on Jan. 27 after being appointed by Quorum Health Resources to replace outgoing CEO Chris Smolik. Rossfeld will hold the position while Quorum and the hospital's Board of Trustees select a permanent CEO.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

The Memorial Hospital Interim CEO John Rossfeld familiarizes himself with his new office. Rossfeld, who has more than 30 years of hospital administration experience, started at TMH on Jan. 27 after being appointed by Quorum Health Resources to replace outgoing CEO Chris Smolik. Rossfeld will hold the position while Quorum and the hospital's Board of Trustees select a permanent CEO.

Interim CEO John Rossfeld begins tenure at The Memorial Hospital

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The Memorial Hospital Interim CEO John Rossfeld

The Memorial Hospital saw a new face starting Jan. 27, as John Rossfeld came to Craig to serve as the medical facility’s interim chief executive officer.

Rossfeld replaces Chris Smolik in the position, following Smolik’s resignation in early January.

Rossfeld most recently served as interim CEO for Newman Regional Health in Emporia, Kan., on behalf of Quorum Health Resources. Through the management services company, he has worked with numerous health care locations in an interim capacity, a job that follows more than 30 years in full-time hospital administration in California, Nevada, Utah and Florida, complete with a master’s degree in hospital administration and public health from University of California, Los Angeles.

“I started doing the interims because I thought it would be kind of semiretirement plan, but I’ve pretty much been working continuously for the last 2 1/2 years,” he said.

The process of serving in an interim position means Rossfeld goes where he is needed, but in this case, the timing worked out well for him. He and his wife have resided in Longmont for the past two years, and working out of a Colorado location means traveling home on the weekends will be less complicated.

Rossfeld said he has been impressed by the staff and administration of TMH in his first week.

“What I’ve picked up is a pretty strong commitment from the community to have this hospital and to have it do well,” he said. “There’s a nucleus of physicians here that are really upgrading the level of care.”

On the other side of things, Rossfeld’s time in various other hospitals has let him see a recurring weakness, one to which TMH is also susceptible.

“The electronic health record is something that every organization is going through,” he said. “The federal government is trying to push hospitals and health care providers to become automated, and there’s challenges because a lot of the folks who make those systems can’t meet those goals.”

Rossfeld said he hopes to see better coordination of records between the hospital proper and TMH Medical Clinic. Updating the phone systems is also an important project.

Jennifer Riley, TMH’s chief of marketing and business development, said she thought Rossfeld already has made a strong start to identifying the hospital’s top priorities.

“He’s been collaborative and gotten input from all of us,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of projects going, but we really need to focus on a handful of them.”

One of those projects is selecting the person who ultimately will succeed Rossfeld.

As the fifth person to hold the position of TMH’s CEO, interim or otherwise, since January 2013 — including former Chief Financial Officer Bryan Chalmers, who stood in between Smolik’s resignation and Rossfeld’s arrival — Rossfeld likely will be in the CEO role between four and six months as the TMH Board of Trustees and QHR seek a permanent hire.

Rossfeld said he hopes to make clear his purpose for being at the hospital is not to “clean house” or make enormous, unnecessary changes.

“My position is to find out what the issues are and where I can help and what resources I have to bring to the table to do that,” he said. “Every hospital’s got challenges, but not every one is broken or needs someone to come in and be the savior. This organization doesn’t need a savior, they just need someone to keep them on track, on target and continuing to move in the direction that they’re moving so the new CEO can go from there and really move forward.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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