Cooper begins as hospital's Interim CEO

Robert Blackford/Editor

Jeff Cooper began his tenure as Mercer County Hospital's Interim CEO on Monday, March 30.

Cooper is the president of Genesis Medical Center in DeWitt, Iowa and a vice president for Genesis Health Systems. He comes to Mercer County Hospital as part of a cooperative agreement between Mercer County Hospital (MCH) and Genesis Health Systems (GHS).

The agreement will allow MCH to use GHS's resources. It also gives MCH an experienced CEO while it searches for someone to fill the permanent position.

Cooper said, "I believe Mercer County Hospital is at a similar position as DeWitt was 10-12 years ago. We will link DeWitt folks with Mercer County to see what works and what doesn't."

Cooper said they were able to increase the volume of patients at DeWitt by 25 percent while building confidence in the community for the hospital. People think bigger is better. We turned that around. I see that potential here. There are great people here. My feeling is the people here want to make it work."

Cooper said the changes in healthcare make the industry more complex.

In his first 90 days Cooper plans to do an in depth financial assessment of the facility and develop a plan for profitability. He will also start searching for a permanent CEO. He believes the search for a permanent CEO will take three to six months.

Cooper said he will be able to call on experienced individuals within Genesis to help guide him in his duties. There are more than 5,000 employees within the Genesis system.

Cooper will be full-time at Mercer County Hospital. He believes that in three to four months time he will have a clear picture of the hospital.

He noted that the success that was achieved at DeWitt would not have been possible without the affiliation with Genesis. "Most hospitals have hooked up with larger entities. Genesis is a good size for this. He noted that as the CEO of the DeWitt facility he has been at the table for all the decisions of Genesis. "DeWitt is a good match for Genesis. So could Mercer County."

Cooper said Genesis has worked with the problems of the Medicaid system before and has been politically active at the state level. "We have a hospital in Silvis that has dealt with that."