Todd C. Linden, FACHE, president and CEO of Grinnell
Regional Medical Center, has decided to retire from hospital administration following 24 successful years in Grinnell. GRMC named Doris Rindels, RN, vice president, as the interim chief executive officer with the launch of the UnityPoint Health Des Moines and University of Iowa Health Care affiliation. Linden
will continue in a consulting role for six-months to support the affiliation integration and a smooth transition to a new CEO.
“Todd will focus his time on the integration process,” says
Wendy Kadner, GRMC board chair. “We realized GRMC
needs a person dedicated to the transition and Todd is the
best person to successfully complete this move with
Kadner explains that Linden’s role will also include determining the local leadership needs, support the search for a new chief executive officer, and work to orient the new CEO.
Linden’s tenure at GRMC is filled with innovation and excellence in healthcare. In 1995, the GRMC Board of Directors and Linden created a 20-year master facilities plan. This will be completed in February with the opening of the final project, the new Brownell Emergency Center. The facilities improvements included construction of a new physical plant (boilers, chillers, air handling, and emergency power), the 36,000 square foot Ahrens Medical Arts Building, and renovation or new construction of almost all of the departments in the medical center. “The community support of our master plan was nothing short of remarkable,” said Dave Vander Linden, GRMC Foundation board chair. “Supported with over twenty million dollars of donations, completion of the master plan has left GRMC with a wonderful modern and up-to-date facility and minimum long-term debt.”
“Change is a constant and I’m stepping aside to welcome the next leadership team to continue growing services for local residents,” Linden says. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve the patients and families of the greater Poweshiek County area. We have a strong leadership team and a highly committed staff to ensure our mission of service remains strong.”
The average tenure of a healthcare CEO is slightly over five and a half years, according to “The Impact of Hospital CEO Turnover in U.S. Hospitals,” which was prepared for the American College of Healthcare Executives. According to the report, Linden is in a slim category of those who have served as CEO for more than 20 years at the same institution, which accounted for just 3.4 percent of healthcare CEOs.
“Although there is no perfect time to step aside from a job you love, this seemed like the right opportunity,” Linden says. “I have been truly blessed to be part of such a great team of wonderful people. From the dedicated board and outstanding medical staff, to the committed volunteers and caring employees, GRMC is fortunate to be the beneficiary of all this talent. Everything that has been accomplished is the result of a team effort.”
Linden currently serves on the Grinnell College board of trustees, the University of Iowa College of Public Health advisory board, and is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Linden earned national attention when he testified in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, as well as participated in a teleconference with President Clinton and in a meeting with President Obama on healthcare issues. He also served on the National Rural Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He teaches a healthcare leadership course at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and has supported over 28 student interns over his career from the Health Management and Policy Department of the college.
His insight on small and rural hospitals has made him a valuable participant in the Iowa Hospital Association and American Hospital Association’s governance and advocacy activities. He served as a board member for the Iowa Hospital Association from 1995 to 2001, and was the chair from 1998 to 1999, the youngest to attain this leadership role. Linden received the IHA’s Excellence in Leadership Award, in 2001.
Linden has served on the boards of the Des Moines University, Health Enterprises of Iowa, including chair from 1998 to 1999, and AHA’s subsidiary, the Health Forum.
Linden was only the second Iowan to serve on the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees from 2000-2005. Linden was awarded the AHA’s 2015 Board of Trustees Award, which is presented to individuals or groups who have made substantial and noteworthy contributions to the work of the AHA.
Linden led many successful advocacy efforts over the years to address the inequity in Medicare payment to hospitals the size of GRMC. Working with the members of Congress from Iowa, improved payment to the so-called “tweeners” resulted in many millions of dollars per year in added Medicare payment.
“I have had numerous GRMC board members travel to Washington with me over the past twenty years, developing a strong bond with our legislators and leading to success against all odds in legislation to make GRMC financially stronger,” Linden says.
Bill Menner, GRMC board chair-elect adds, “Todd is an excellent communicator and passionate about meeting the needs the hospital’s patients. His advocacy efforts have been one of his greatest contributions to GRMC.”
Linden is innovative and resourceful. During his 24-year tenure, he helped create the fundraising and grant departments that have helped GRMC raise more than $20 million; started a planned giving program; and initiated a foundation board that has created an endowment worth more than $3 million.
GRMC has been a national leader in integrated medicine, patient safety and fitness/wellness activities. The hospital was recognized by The Washington Post and USA Today for its optimal healing environment and by AARP Magazine as one of America’s Safest Hospitals. Collaborative research with Grinnell College at GRMC resulted in a study lead by associate professor Shannon Hinsa-Leasure showing how use of copper touch surfaces in patient rooms dramatically reduced bacteria load and therefore reduced the chance for the spread of infection. Cited in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, along with over 120 other publications, this study is changing the way hospitals are thinking about keeping their patients safe.
“We’ve always believed that hospitals are more than a place for those sick and injured,” Linden adds. “We need to be a beacon of health to the community and the Postels Community Health Park is a perfect example of how we can help people live better lives.”
As the hospital’s longest serving CEO, Linden increased the medical staff from 18 providers in 1994 to nearly 50 in 2017. His leadership helped expand medical specialties in podiatry, sleep medicine, internal medicine, pain medicine, rheumatology, urology, and surgery. Known nationally for its innovation, GRMC has the newest generation da Vinci surgical robot and its Bariatric Center of Excellence is one of the largest weight reduction centers in Iowa.
“All these achievements were only possible because of a team effort to make GRMC the best possible place it could be,” Linden says. “I am so proud of what we have done together."
Entering into a new affiliation with UPHDM and UIHC starts a new chapter in the storied history of GRMC. After nearly two years of effort, this unique and new affiliation approach will bring the best that all three organizations have to make healthcare in Grinnell even stronger.
“I hope my last contribution will be to make sure we get this new affiliation off to the best start possible,” Linden says. “After the new CEO is in place, I will focus my time on teaching at the University of Iowa and expanding my consulting company. This will allow me to spend more time with my family and work on projects that I enjoy the most.”
“Unfortunately, we knew this day would eventually come. Todd will leave a positive and lasting impression on the community – better healthcare services, innovation, and excellence in patient safety,” Kadner says.