Rock Rapids, Iowa — The new hospital being built in Rock Rapids will soon have an administrator.

The Board of Trustees for Avera Merrill Pioneer Hospital has announced that Craig Hohn has accepted the position as the facility’s administrator.

Hohn will begin the full-time position Sept. 1, and he will help the Board and the Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital Association as the construction of a state-of-the-art replacement hospital and clinic in Rock Rapids continues, according to Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital Board President Jim Vander Woude.

He says that they are excited to welcome Hohn and his family to the community and to the ongoing effort to reshape the future of healthcare in this part of Iowa. He says Hohn’s wide-ranging experience as a leader will serve Rock Rapids well.

Hohn holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in business with a health-administration emphasis from The University of South Dakota. He has served as a project leader, administrative resident and fellow, and most recently worked as the director of Service Line Coordination for Avera Health.

Vander Woude tells us how he and the board feel about the announcement.

Avera handled the advertising of the position and received over 40 applications from around the country. Vander Woude says they’ve been paring down that list this spring and summer, and several board members and Avera personnel interviewed the four in early July. Late that month, the two finalists were interviewed in Rock Rapids so they could have a chance to see the community and the facility being built and get a feel for small-town living. Vander Woude says that as with all employees at the new facility, Hohn will be an employee of Avera Health, not of the Association.

Avera Senior Vice President of Managed Facilities Curt Hohman says that Hohn has proven through his hard work and successes with Avera that he’ll be a great facility administrator. He says they had many great candidates and feel they have found the best choice possible.

Hohn himself says, “It’s humbling, yet exciting, to begin this chapter in my career, and I feel honored to have the opportunity to serve with this team as we re-envision the health care of our area through this construction project.” He says he’s joining a “great group of people, and together we will achieve our goals, with patients as our priority in all we do.”

Hohn; his wife Ashley; and daughters, Jaelyn, 4; and Tenley, 17 months; will move to Rock Rapids.

Avera Health will begin leasing the operations of the Rock Rapids community hospital and clinic beginning in May 2019. The $28.9 million building comprises more than 52,000 square feet and is scheduled to open in May 2019. Vander Woude says construction is going well and they continue to run slightly ahead of schedule.

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