Thursday, January 25th, 2007
By Shelley Grieshop
Hunt for Mercer Health CEO moves slowly and steadily forward
  COLDWATER - The search for a new CEO for Mercer Health is ongoing, although board members appear in no hurry to fill the position.
Dave Wolters, president of Mercer Health Board of Governors, said several applications have been received so far and the process of gathering them will continue. Board members have not set a deadline to hire a new CEO following the firing of Terry Padden at a special board meeting in late November.
Board members currently are handling the application process internally and have not said if they plan to hire a company to conduct the search.
Board members and Padden apparently did not see eye to eye on future plans for the hospital, although they praised his leadership of the organization during his nearly three years at the helm.
Padden, who resides in Rockford, continues to receive his contracted annual salary of about $130,000 through August, as well as group life, health and major medical coverage, according to an agreement approved by board members following his dismissal.
Board members also discussed the Maternal Care Center program in Celina, which serves at-risk pregnant women and Medicaid patients in the area.
Lisa Klenke, vice president of patient care services, said Nurse/Midwife Donna Scheideberg has been appointed primary caregiver for the program. Klenke said recent discussion about the center is focused on what kind of care to provide patients served at the Celina office.
Currently, the program provides some direct care and serves as a resource link to other agencies in the coun '90s under Manager Connie Paulus with the aid of a state grant. Last year, the grant amount totaled about $37,000, Klenke said.
Board members also heard an update on the recruitment of specialists for the hospital's medical staff. Wermert said the hospital is considering joining forces with another area hospital to search for and pay the salary of a needed ears, nose and throat doctor. Wermert did not say which area hospital might be included in the venture.
The search also continues for a pediatrician and a family physician. Three-year contracts with anesthesiologists Keith Snow and Venkat Neelati recently were approved by board members.
In other business, board members:
• Learned December was an extremely busy and profitable month due to an increase in flu cases and surgeries. A profit of $371,578 was recorded.
• Heard from Dr. Ed Hosbach, chief of staff of the medical executive committee, about goals the medical staff has outlined for the current year. Better communication with staff, particularly nurses, was high on the list. Also being reviewed are credentials, privilege and physical performance policies, and a measured care policy for physicians.
• Held an executive session with a hospital attorney present to discuss a pending legal issue, but took no action.
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