“I have a great job and a great group of people I get to work with,” said Crawford County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) CEO Erin Muck. “It’s going very well. I still love what I do.”
Muck took over the role of CCMH CEO on August 1, 2019.
She had been CCMH vice president of clinical services and chief nursing officer (CNO) since June 2015.
She succeeded Bill Bruce, who continued as president of CCMH through December of last year.
Muck took over the role of president of the organization on January 1.
She said the transition period with Bruce was helpful to her.
“Bill did a nice job of sitting back and letting me deal with things and he was available if I needed something,” Muck said.
She said he never stepped in and said, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
“It was nice to have somebody to bounce ideas off of but it was also nice that he let me do my thing,” Muck said.
She said she hasn’t faced any major surprises so far.
“I think that when you’ve been in administration for a while - and in a vice president position – you get to see a lot,” she said.
Muck still works collaboratively with others at the hospital, but the major difference now is that the buck stops with her.
She was in charge of a department before and now she is in charge of the entire organization.
“It’s definitely different and it’s a different level of stress,” Muck said. “If I didn’t like that kind of thing then I probably shouldn’t have taken this positon. I like challenges and knew that this would be a different one. I love it.”
The main challenges for the hospital in the coming years are already known.
“Every critical access hospital, every rural hospital, has such high risk,” she said. “One of our biggest concerns is how we remain financially viable through all of the changes to how Medicare, Medicaid and even insurance companies reimburse us. How do we remain fiscally responsible and fiscally sound so we’re still able to be here to serve our community? That’s our biggest challenge.”
The hospital is taking a look at ways to bring additional efficiency and enhancements to the current areas of service provided, she said.
“We’re working on bringing in more market share regarding our current service lines but we’re also evaluating what other service lines we want to offer the community,” Muck said.
CCMH may consider adding services that community members have to travel to receive – if the service makes financial sense, she said.
“Right now we’re working on strategic planning and the budget process is going to be happening here pretty soon,” Muck said. “We’re really looking at strategy and what we need to do going forward.”
She said the CCMH Board of Trustees has done a good job of setting the hospital’s strategy.
“Leadership and providers - we’re all working on the tactics we need to do to be successful,” she said. “That wasn’t something I got to lead before and I’m pretty excited that I get to lead that now.”
Muck said she believes in Denison, Crawford County and CCMH.
“I’m here to serve the community. That’s what I’m here for and what I signed up to do,” she said.
“My ultimate goal is to help us be the most successful that we can be so we can give the best care possible for our community.”