Gerald Worrick believes that team building is the best way to adapt to the massive changes happening in health care. In the 28 years he has been president and CEO of Ministry Door County Medical Center, he has seen health care change from an inpatient model to an outpatient model, with recent emphasis on primary care and prevention.
In 2010, Worrick’s decision to build a new two-story inpatient tower transitioned inpatient care in Door County to a private yet family-centered environment. The creation of North Shore Medical Clinic, which operates in five locations and is staffed by primary care providers and specialists, was also one of many accomplishments during his tenure.
These results are bringing awards. In 2015, MDCMC was recognized as one of the top 50 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States, and one of the top 100 for five years running. Becker’s Hospital Review recently named Gerald Worrick one of the 50 Rural Hospital CEO’s to know nationwide, one of only three in Wisconsin. Worrick attributes these honors to his team of employees at the hospital.
Worrick’s leadership style is to surround himself with the best and brightest in the field. “I can’t take the credit. We’re being recognized because of the people I surround myself with.”
Worrick builds his team with those who, in his words, “make up for my shortcomings.” A self-proclaimed big picture guy, he seeks team members who are creative, but also detail-oriented. He enjoys inspiring others with new information and ideas, and then empowering them to lead their own teams and projects.
“I get my best ideas in the shower, and also from my wife – she’s my secret weapon,” laughs Worrick. “But the really great, creative ideas come from my team. For example, Jody Boes, chief nursing officer, is developing a new idea right now for ‘nursing in the field,’ providing post-discharge home visits for older patients. It’s innovative, it’s responsive to patients’ needs, and it’s in keeping with who we are as a hospital, providing high quality care, close to home.”
Worrick travels often to attend conferences and bring back new ideas to the hospital. One of his strongest legacies is the creation of MDCMC’s “Journey to Excellence,” a quality management tool that empowers employees to create change, and charges leaders with the responsibility of regular “rounding” to visit employees, communicating constantly about successes and areas of challenge in the organization.
For Worrick, rounding is nothing new – he has been managing by walkabout visits with employees for decades. “Jerry is a true leader, and keeps his finger on the pulse of the organization by constant communication with his team,” says Kevin Grohskopf, chief business development officer. “Above all, he keeps the hospital’s values of caring for the community top of mind in everything he does.”