Rotarian Mel Ward, center, hosted quest speakers Christopher Curry, left, and Chuck Bohlmann, right, at the Club's regular Monday noon luncheon meeting. Chuck Bohlmann, CEO at the Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka, and Chris Curry, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at IMH are former IMH employees that were asked to return by the Hospital board after an absence of 4 years. After leaving IMH in 2008, Bohlmann took a position representing and negotiating for 50 hospitals in Illinois and ended up as a senior vice president of a small rural hospital in Ohio. Curry spent his intervening time at a large hospital facility in Chicago. Both men felt that they had gained insights and experience that make them better at their jobs at IMH today.

Chris and Chuck are responsible for the daily operation and management of the hospital. As CEO and COO they assemble a staff of the best medical professionals possible and provide them with the atmosphere that allows them to be as efficient and productive as possible on the job.

Iroquois Memorial has 350 employees. There are 143 Nurses. In addition to the hospital in Watseka, there are three IMH clinics. There is a clinic in Gilman, one in Milford and also one in Kentland. The Kentland Clinic opened 21 years ago and in 1997 moved into a new building that was built as a medical facility. It has a staff of 14 led by Dr. Florido. There are two nurse practitioners, Deborah Morgan and Chantel Anderson. They have up to 9,000 ER visits a year. That works out to 30-40 a day.

Keeping a Hospital in a rural setting staffed with top notch medical professionals is often difficult. It's a hard sell to attract recent graduates of medical schools and nursing schools. So, Chuck and Chris decided they needed to grow their own staff. To do that they have employed youth considering medical careers during summer vacation. They also provide scholarships for those serious about a medical career --- with a commitment to return to Iroquois Memorial.

Making sure that the hospital is providing the best possible medical care is also a responsibility of the CEO. Advances in medicine and technology provide better and safer health care. An example is the addition of a 160 slice Toshiba Aquilion Prime CT scanner that is capable of 3-D images. It is much, much faster and safer than it's predecessor.

Iroquois Memorial recently affiliated with Presence Health, the State's largest Catholic Health System with 12 hospitals. The partnership will give access to visiting specialists to expand the services of IMH. IMH bridges the geographic areas of Presence Health's existing hospitals in Kankakee, Urbana and Danville. Bohlmann feels that the partnership with Presence Health will strengthen Iroquois Memorial's ability to serve the health care needs of the communities they serve. Although they are committed to working with the other hospitals, the local hospital board will still determine what happens at IMH.

Brandt Stum
Kentland Rotary Club