Gerber resigns from TMH board; Moffat County seeks replacement
September 12, 2013
Craig — Leave it better than you found it.
It's a guideline Tinneal Gerber strove to live and work by in every job she's had and one she hopes her predecessor will follow, as well.
Gerber recently resigned from the board of trustees for The Memorial Hospital, as of the group's Sept. 5 meeting. Her decision to leave the position was based on a need to focus on her job as finance director for Moffat County School District.
"It's really time-consuming working on the board, but it's very rewarding in the sense that you see the reward in the community with what we provide," she said. "I don't think you ever truly understand the amount of work it takes, and you're always warned, but I think I just have to prioritize with the school district and my family."
Gerber first was appointed to the board as a representative of Moffat County in 2010 after board member Ron Danner resigned following the election of his wife, Audrey, to the Moffat County Commission. The first year was the toughest.
"There's a huge learning curve for the hospital board, and there's a lot going on in health care reform and community health care, and it takes at least a year to get your head around it all," she said.
The hospital still was relatively new to its current location three years ago and since has undergone numerous changes in the number of services and personnel. Gerber's day job helped her keep a handle on the financial aspect of the position.
"I think it always helps to have an extra voice that can help people understand that part of it," she said.
Before resigning, Gerber worked on the board's finance committee and medical staff development committee. TMH Chief of Organizational Excellence Jennifer Riley said Gerber always has been a "very engaged and active board member since she joined."
Riley said Gerber's resignation came as a surprise, though she understood her desire to simplify her workload.
"We've still got some great opportunities to work together, hospital and school district, to provide health care for their employees, so we're not losing her altogether, but we are losing her as a leader in our organization," Riley said.
One of the best recent decisions was the hiring of Chris Smolik as CEO, Gerber said.
"I think he's done a very good job in the short time he's been here," she said. "He's been very proactive on some things that we had been stagnant on for probably over a year, and he's very passionate about health care in our community."
As Gerber leaves the board behind, her open seat on the board will need to be filled. The Moffat County Commission will accept applications for the position through Oct. 1.
Applicants must live within the county and must submit a letter of interest to County Commission Administrative Assistant Erin Miller as part of the process.
"They should tell us why they want to be on the board, what kind of qualifications they have, things like that," she said. "It doesn't have to be anything too elaborate; just one page will do."
Miller said the commissioners likely will determine their choice by mid-October.
Gerber said whoever replaces her for the remainder of her term — which ends in January 2016 — or beyond will need to be prepared to devote an average of five to 10 hours each week to board-related work.
"They really need to be able to stay up to date with where we're going with health care reform," Gerber said. "That's changing so significantly for hospitals right now."
With legislation like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act right around the corner, applicants also will need to concentrate on keeping TMH's level of quality the same, Gerber said.
"Obamacare really doesn't focus on rural health care, so as a rural community, we've got to ask, 'How do we continue to provide services for our citizens?'" she said.
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.