Hospital Stays In House For CEO

    GRAND HAVEN — Building stronger business relationships with tertiary care providers in the region and upgrading information-technology systems are the top goals for the new chief executive at North Ottawa Community Health System.

    Mike Payne, a veteran health care executive who first came to North Ottawa three years ago as a consultant and moved into the top operations position, was named last week as the health system’s new president and chief executive officer.

    On the top of the agenda for Payne is a strategic-planning process that will include examining referral agreements with hospitals and bringing North Ottawa’s information systems up to date. North Ottawa needs to “bite the bullet” and invest in an IT system that is “as state of the art as it can be” for a $40 million health system and provide for the seamless transfer of information and records, resulting in the “friendliest care possible” for patients.

    By strengthening referral agreements with other hospitals, North Ottawa can better accommodate patients who require tertiary care while alleviating the chances of those same health systems moving into the market with competing primary-care services.

    The idea is to become “a complete community hospital by complementing some of the other hospitals instead of competing with them,” Payne said.

    “We have to define what the community needs from this facility and then work with our strategic partners to provide that,” Payne said. “That will focus how we spend our limited resources.”

    Payne, 54, has served as interim president and CEO of North Ottawa Community Health System since the abrupt resignation of former chief executive Mike Funk last February. Payne joined the health system in 1999 as vice president of operations, after first serving as a human resources consultant to North Ottawa.

    He previously served 16 years as an administrator at North Kansas City Hospital, a 350-bed, $200 million hospital, including the last five years as CEO.

    Payne was one of 111 applicants for the position when a committee of the North Ottawa Board of Trustees began searching for a new CEO six months ago. The search committee trimmed the field to 20 applicants who were given “serious reviews,” said Ronald Zoet, chairman of the North Ottawa board of trustees.

    Eight candidates were interviewed and the search committee recommended two finalists to the full board of trustees and medical staff to consider, Zoet said.

    Payne “stood out as a leading candidate” throughout the search, he said. His 25 years of experience in the health care industry and strong operational, strategic planning and financial management abilities make him the best person for the job, Zoet said.

    Particularly beneficial is Payne’s familiarity with the health system’s inner workings and its staff, Zoet said.

    “Mike proved to us he has the skill set we need to go forward at this time,” he said. “He can hit the ground running.”

    North Ottawa Community Health System is one of the smallest health systems in West Michigan. It consists of an 81-bed acute-care hospital, a nursing home, a hospice, an in-home medical equipment and nursing unit, a pharmacy, an urgent-care clinic, and the Harbor Dunes Health Center owned jointly with Horizon Medical PLC, a group of local physicians.           

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