Riverwood Healthcare’s CEO announces retirement
AITKIN — After nearly a dozen years of service as chief executive officer for Aitkin’s Riverwood Healthcare Center, Michael Hagen announced plans to retire in June 2013.
“This was not an easy decision to make because I care so deeply about Riverwood and all its constituents-patients, employees, volunteers, health care practitioners, donors and board members,” Hagen said in a news release. “My whole career has been devoted to working on health-related issues so I will certainly miss being actively engaged in the decision-making to keep our local health system strong and responsive to the needs of this community and its residents.
“I’m turning 66 in June and though I’ve enjoyed every moment of my time at Riverwood, it’s time to pass on the 24/7 responsibility to someone new. Carolyn and I are looking forward to spending more time with our children and grandchildren in Colorado and Montana. We’d also like to do more traveling, golfing, and perhaps learn to fish Mille Lacs Lake in our back yard. Giving back to the community and being involved as a volunteer are also in my plans, and I may do some contract work in health care if the right opportunity arises.”
When Hagen assumed the role of Riverwood’s CEO in February 2001, the existing hospital in Aitkin had become outdated and construction of a new hospital and clinic facility was nearly under way. In 2001, Riverwood had 316 employees, which included 42 nursing home employees, and net operating revenue of about $19 million. Today, the hospital and clinics system has 360 employees and total operating revenue of abouts $45 million. The number of physicians and specialists has grown from about 40 to more than 60.
“Mike did a tremendous job of leading the transition to our new facility in 2003 and now he is overseeing the completion of a $21 million expansion and upgrade to our Aitkin medical campus,” said Tom Rikala, chairman of Riverwood’s governing board of directors. “I honor Mike’s dedication, his vision and his intellectual abilities, all of which have contributed to bringing Riverwood to the level of excellence it enjoys today. Many accomplishments have been achieved under Mike’s leadership, which our board and our community will greatly appreciate for years to come.”
Reflecting on his years with Riverwood, Hagen said he’s most proud of being able to hire and develop a hard-working, cohesive administrative team, clinic and hospital staff and practitioners, who have carried out the mission and vision of Riverwood in the community.
“Under the fine leadership of the board of directors, and the dedication of our staff, providers and volunteers I believe we have one of the finest Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) in the country,” Hagen said. “I look forward to passing the baton to the next CEO who will find Riverwood to be a solid, progressive organization. The Aitkin area is such a wonderful place to live and work and I have always been impressed by the generosity and support of the community in regard to their time and the financial resources given to Riverwood. Without the community support, we would not be the organization we are today.”
Hagen earned a bachelor’s degree from Moorhead State University, a master’s from Mankato State University, and a doctorate in education from Utah State University. During his career, he served as the director of the Montana Center for Handicapped Children, Eastern Montana College, and as administrative director of rehabilitation at Saint Vincent Hospital and Health Center — both in Billings, Montana; administrator at HealthSouth Rehabilitation at Baptist Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee; and was chief executive officer of HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Beaumont, Texas, just before coming to Aitkin.
His prior experience in the construction of health care facilities served the organization well over the years. After overseeing the transition to a modern new integrated 24-bed hospital and clinic in 2003, several years later he coordinated major expansions for the specialty clinic in Aitkin and for the McGregor clinic, with completion of both in 2006. Then he worked closely with Garrison community members to build and open a new clinic and pharmacy in Garrison in 2007. In 2009, Riverwood opened a newly expanded radiology department to accommodate a permanent MRI suite. Now the hospital is well on its way to completion of a $21 million expansion and renovation project that is transforming the patient experience at Riverwood with new single occupancy patient rooms as well as other enhancements to inpatient and outpatient care. Completion of the renovations is expected in May 2013.
Riverwood reported Hagen leaves a legacy of partnering with other health systems and building for the future of health care. Services at Riverwood have expanded over the past decade through partnering with other organizations such as Cuyuna Regional Medical Center to form the Cuyuna Riverwood Breast Health Alliance and Minnesota Center for Orthopaedics; Minneapolis Heart Institute for cardiology care; Virginia Piper Cancer Institute for oncology services; Regional Diagnostic Radiology for imaging services; Adult & Pediatric Urology for urology care; and SISU Medical Solutions for information technology services. In addition, Hagen helped to form relationships between Riverwood and the Greater Minnesota Self Insurance Fund, the Rural Healthcare Alliance, and the Minnesota Wilderness Coalition.
Dr. Mark Heggem, chief medical officer and Riverwood board member, said: “Mike has been a wonderful champion for Riverwood during his tenure here. He sees and understands the needs of our patients, the physicians and the rest of the health care team. In addition, he is always forward thinking as to the community’s needs and what Riverwood’s mission and vision should be. Mike has also seen the value, supported the education and stressed the importance of physician leadership as having an integral role in the oversight and development of providing health care to our patients now and in the future. He will be greatly missed.”
Jayne Anderson, director of quality and risk, said: “I have had the pleasure to work with Mike for the past nine years and observed his great leadership to our organization. From my perspective, his commitment to quality is unsurpassed. Under his tireless direction we achieved Joint Commission Accreditation last year. He will be missed here at Riverwood, among health care professionals in this region, and in the local communities we serve.”
Hagen serves on Minnesota Hospital Association’s Workforce Development Committee and Physician Leadership Council, Minnesota State Trauma Advisory Council, SISU Medical Systems Executive Committee, and the CMDI Executive Committee, National Rural Health Associations CAH Leadership Group, CAH Contingency Group, Policy Congress and has served various local organizations such as the Aitkin Chamber of Commerce and Rotary over the years.
Riverwood’s board has selected a nationally recognized search firm, Chandler Group Executive Search, to lead the search process for the next chief executive officer. Closer to Hagen’s retirement date, community members will be invited to farewell festivities.