Oak Moser knows it will be another active year for Tomah Memorial Hospital. “It’s an exciting time for the hospital and the community with so much going on,” said Moser, who was elected hospital board chair for 2018 during the organization’s recently held annual meeting. Moser replaces Paul Potter who wrapped up his second, three-year term on the board, including the last two years as chair.
During the past year, the hospital completed a $3 million conversion of its electronic health record (EHR) to Epic, opened a new Occupational Health and Wellness Clinic in Tomah’s industrial park and began construction on an estimated $66 million Tomah Health facility on the city’s south side. The year also included announced plans by Gundersen Health System to add a comprehensive cancer center to a new 77,000 sq. ft. Tomah Clinic slated for construction on the same campus.
With the start of a new year, Tomah city officials met with hospital representatives regarding plans to construct a new ambulance department building on the health campus, and there is the possibility the site could also be the home for a new Monroe County nursing home.
Considering all the activity, Moser said the challenge for the board and organization will be to continue planning for the new facilities while maintaining quality services offered on a daily basis. “There’s plenty going on and to balance all those initiatives and still maintain the high quality level of health care provided to the community is the big challenge.”
Moser said facilities provided by a proposed county nursing home would be “a great match” for the services that will be provided on the new Tomah Health campus.
Despite the full agenda, Moser said the organization remains resilient thanks to the dedicated health care providers, staff, volunteers and board directors. “I think one of the strengths of the hospital has always been not just the administrative staff and all the providers, but the medical staff as well and the quality of care that comes about as a result of it,” Moser said. He also said the working relationship with both the Gundersen and Mayo Health Systems benefits the quality of care offered in the area. “Everybody works together and there’s more synergy than I think people realize. Services continue to grow and new providers are being brought on, there’s not a stall in terms of the development of providing health care here for the community.”
This is the second stint for Moser as board chair. He served as chair of the organization in 2011 during his first, three-year term on the hospital board. “We’re not going to make a lot of strategic decisions this year – there will be tons of tactical decisions with all the things going on – but continuing the path of action that has already been set is really how I look at it and the challenge I have,” said Moser, who is in the second year of his three-year term.
In 2008, members of the former hospital corporation amended the organization’s Articles of Incorporation to allow for a self-perpetuating board, which relies on a nominating committee of board members and community leaders to nominate the new candidates.
During the annual meeting, retired Tomah area business executive Keith Laugen was elected to a three-year term filling the opening created by Potter’s vacancy. Laugen said he is looking forward to his service and the future of the organization in light of the new hospital. “I see TMH even more than before a cornerstone of Tomah, and believe the future is truly bright,” Laugen said.
Directors also voted current board members Thomas Bramwell as vice-chair and Spencer Stephens as secretary. Bramwell had served as secretary the past year. Director Patty Clark was re-elected board treasurer.
Tomah Memorial Hospital general surgeon Dr. John Robertson III, M.D. was re-elected to a two-year board seat as a representative of the hospital’s medical staff.
Gundersen Health System Tomah Clinic physician Dr. Jill McMullen, M.D., Tomah residents Terrie Gaarder, John Laufenberg and Penny Precour round out the ten-member board of directors. Dr. McMullen currently serves as the president of the hospital’s medical staff. Precour, Laufenberg and Stephens are in their second of three-year terms.