CEO Linn Block Attributes Staff & Community for MRHC’s Success

Linn block

Linn blockOver the past few years, our collective journey at MRHC has been nothing short of transformative. United by a shared commitment to patient safety, quality care, and team engagement, we have implemented a strategic plan that not only elevated healthcare standards but also garnered attention and respect from the broader healthcare community.

At the heart of MRHC lies its people – our exceptional staff, providers, and the communities we serve. Your unwavering dedication to our shared mission has resulted in numerous notable accomplishments in patient care, expanded service offerings, and financial resilience. This is a collective achievement, and I take immense pride in being a part of this remarkable team.

I want to express heartfelt acknowledgment for the extraordinary resilience and strength demonstrated by our community in the face of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. These past couple of years have tested us in unexpected ways, and yet, together, we navigated uncertainties and overcame obstacles. Your commitment to safety protocols, mutual support, and unwavering trust in our healthcare team has been truly inspiring.

The way our community rallied during these trying times exemplifies the true spirit of unity and reinforces the vital role that rural healthcare plays in times of crisis. Your collective efforts not only safeguarded the health and well-being of our community members but also showcased the resilience that defines the heart of Manning Regional Healthcare Center.

Our ongoing community engagement initiatives, from local partnerships to the implementation of a new electronic health record system in collaboration with St. Anthony Regional Hospital, have further strengthened the bonds between MRHC and the communities we are privileged to serve.

The success of our capital campaign, raising nearly $1 million for the obstetrics wing’s renovation, and the recognition with the Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award for Employee Engagement underscore the incredible teamwork and passion that define MRHC. Your dedication has made our hospital a beacon of excellence in the face of financial challenges and changing landscapes in rural healthcare.

As I transition to the next chapter in my career, I carry with me the valuable lessons and memories from MRHC. The growth of our specialty clinics, the addition of same-day appointments, and the success of the substance abuse recovery center are all reflections of your hard work and dedication.

To our exceptional team, thank you for making MRHC not just a hospital but a family that cares for one another and for our community. To our patients, thank you for entrusting us with your healthcare needs. Your trust is our greatest honor, and we remain committed to providing you with the highest quality of care. The journey ahead for MRHC is exciting, and I am confident that, with your continued dedication, MRHC will continue to thrive and be a beacon of healthcare excellence in rural Iowa.

-Linn Block

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird Advocates for Rural Healthcare and Substance Abuse Treatment During Visit to MRHC

Brenna Bird visit

Iowa Attorney General, Brenna Bird, underscored her commitment to enhancing rural healthcare and tackling the challenges of substance abuse during her visit to Manning Regional Healthcare Center (MRHC) and the Recovery Center on September 12th. Brenna Bird visit

Attorney General Bird, known for her dedication to addressing critical issues affecting communities, spent the day engaging with healthcare professionals, touring the facility, and discussing key priorities related to rural healthcare access and substance abuse treatment. During a meeting with key hospital leaders, Attorney General Bird emphasized the vital role of rural healthcare in ensuring all Iowans have access to quality medical services.

“Rural communities are the backbone of our state, and it is crucial that we invest in and support healthcare facilities such as Manning Regional Healthcare Center,” Attorney General Bird stated.

The Attorney General toured the various departments meeting doctors, nurses, and other front-line staff to gain a firsthand understanding of the challenges they face in delivering healthcare services to rural populations.

Brenna BirdOne of the key highlights of Attorney General Bird’s visit was her exploration of the Recovery Center at Manning Regional Healthcare Center, where she engaged in discussions with addiction treatment specialists, counselors, and individuals in recovery. She expressed her deep concern about the rising prevalence of substance abuse issues in rural areas and emphasized the importance of comprehensive treatment options.

“The opioid epidemic has touched every corner of our state, and rural communities are particularly vulnerable. We must ensure that individuals battling substance abuse have access to effective and compassionate treatment close to home,” Attorney General Bird remarked.

In outlining her priorities related to rural healthcare, Attorney General Bird committed to working closely with healthcare providers and community leaders to address issues such as healthcare workforce shortages, infrastructure improvements, and access to mental health services. She also pledged to advocate for policies that support the expansion of substance abuse treatment programs and improve access to mental health resources in rural areas.

MRHC CEO, Linn Block, expressed gratitude for the Attorney General’s visit, stating, “We appreciate Attorney General Bird’s attention to the unique healthcare needs of rural communities. Her commitment to supporting initiatives that address substance abuse is particularly significant in our ongoing efforts to provide comprehensive care to our residents.”

As Attorney General Bird concluded her visit, she reiterated her dedication to collaborative efforts that bridge the gaps in rural healthcare and substance abuse treatment. “By working together, we can build stronger, healthier communities across Iowa,” she affirmed.

Attorney General Bird’s visit to Manning Regional Healthcare Center serves as a testament to her hands-on approach in addressing critical issues impacting the well-being of Iowans.

“We are thankful for the Attorney General’s visit to MRHC and appreciate her taking time to learn about the unique services we offer here as well as the challenges we face with regard to rural healthcare funding and staffing,” shared MRHC CEO, Linn Block.

Manning Regional Healthcare Center has recently become a popular site for politicians as the organization has been able to successfully manage rural healthcare challenges and continues to work hard every day to provide exceptional patient care. Read about other recent politicians visiting MRHC: U.S. Senator Grassley visited the hospital and Recovery Center. Presidential Candidate & North Dakota Governor Burgum

MRHC Receives Employee Engagement Award

employee engagement

MRHC was recently awarded the Guardian of Excellence Award from Press Ganey for Employee Engagement. This award honors clients who have reached the 95th percentile for patient experience, employee or physician engagement, or clinical quality performance—awarded annually based on one year of data.

“Learning that we were awarded the Guardian of Excellence Award was a great way to start our year off,” said MRHC CEO, Linn Block, RN, BSN, MHA. “Without each and every one of us, this recognition would not have happened. I am proud of everyone at MRHC for the work they do with their teams, it is paying off!”

MRHC celebrated their employee engagement award with a picnic lunch at the hospital for all staff on Wednesday, March 15th. Employees were greeted with a banner congratulating their hard work and thanked with lunch, dessert, and a small gift.

In addition to events like this, MRHC strives to offer a variety of appreciation events and activities for employees to take part in. Throughout the past year, MRHC Chief Human Resources Officer, Shelli Lorenzen, and the Employee Engagement Team at MRHC have organ ized events and activities such as:

  • Soup cook-offs
  • Quarterly lunches for work anniversaries
  • A Halloween costume contest
  • Giveaways
  • Providing large coloring pages for stress relief during the Meditech patient portal transition
  • ‘Guess the Santa’ challenge during the holidays where employees dressed up as Santa and co-workers were challenged to guess who was behind the beard for a prize
  • Thankful elves were passed around to share appreciation for one another
  • Grade school pictures were shared to see if employees could guess who was who
  • Food trucks came to MRHC during Hospital Week
  • Food and drinks were brought in often from local businesses
  • Special treats, fun activities, and prizes were held and given out during holidays and much more

“While these events are just a small gesture, it’s something we can continue to do to engage our MRHC team and relay our appreciation for all our employees. An engaged team is needed to continue to grow and be the center of health and wellness for this community,” said Block. “I can’t stress enough how important each and every one of you are.”

employee engagement event

MRHC’s Amy McLaughlin Earns HFMA Certification

Amy McLaughlin

Amy McLaughlinAmy McLaughlin, Manning Regional Healthcare Center’s (MRHC) Chief Financial Officer, recently earned her designation as a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (FHFMA). Following the completion of the Certified Healthcare Financial Professional exam, McLaughlin’s continued volunteerism, years of service with the lowa Chapter, and letter of recommendation allowed McLaughlin to be recognized as a Fellow of HFMA.

“MRHC is so fortunate to have Amy leading our organization through the financial challenges of rural healthcare,” said MRHC CEO Linn Block, RN, BSN, MHA. “This recognition further demonstrates Amy’s financial expertise and leadership in healthcare finances.”

Fellowship is awarded to HFMA members who have demonstrated financial expertise and leadership by using personal financial knowledge and skills in voluntary community service. HFMA Fellows recognize and accept the responsibility of utilizing healthcare finance professional skills for community benefit.

McLaughlin has been an HFMA member with the Iowa Chapter for seven years. She has served the lowa Chapter as a member of the Board of Directors, the Programming Committee, and the Women’s Conference Committee.

“All of the roles I have had the opportunity to serve in for HFMA have been rewarding, but it was a very fulfilling experience serving on the Board of Directors,” shared McLaughlin, CPA. “I got an inside look at all the hard work that takes place behind the scenes to make our chapter as successful as it is. I also got to know some of the officers and other volunteers a little better which I’m very appreciative of.”

Linn Block Recognized as Top Rural Hospital CEO to Know

Linn Block, MRHC CEO

Becker’s Hospital Review recently named its “80 rural hospital CEOs to know”, which included seven Iowa hospital CEOs. The list highlights CEOs who have developed models that ensure their rural hospitals are thriving despite the financial hardships health care organizations face.

Among those highlighted is Manning Regional Healthcare Center’s (MRHC) CEO, Linn Block, BN, BSN, MHA. The article states, “Ms. Block established and implemented an effective strategic plan that shifted the organization’s focus to patient safety, quality care, and team engagement. She advocates at the state and national level for rural healthcare and led a capital campaign that raised nearly $1 million to renovate the obstetrics wing at her hospital. Her efforts have also helped MRHC earn a prestigious Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award for Employee Engagement.” Linn Block, MRHC CEO

“Rural hospitals are critical to the success of the U.S. healthcare system to expand access to care in remote areas. CEOs at the helm of these important community institutions have many responsibilities to make sure their hospitals thrive,” the review shared. “The executives featured on this list have put their heart and soul into ensuring their communities have access to the best healthcare services possible. While rural hospitals across the country have faced closure in recent years, these leaders have developed a model for not only surviving but thriving.”

Although Block has only held the MRHC CEO position for three years, she served in a variety of nursing positions prior, most recently serving as MRHC’s Chief Nursing Officer for four years. Block’s guidance to the senior leadership and all management teams provided conscientious efforts to completely transform the culture of the organization, making it one of the top performing rural hospitals in the MercyOne Network across numerous metrics.

When it comes to leadership style, Block’s approach is different than many hospital CEO’s. She operates a very flat organization where employees are empowered to find opportunities to improve daily and provide the best patient experience whether their position is patient-facing or not.

Block’s Accomplishments at MRHC

Block has developed numerous partnerships with affiliate healthcare organizations to provide ongoing specialty services in Manning. In collaboration with St. Anthony Regional Hospital, she is facilitating the smooth transition to a new electronic health record system that will improve patient transparency and access to care, a project that has been in the works for more than two years.

Most notably, Block identified an opportunity to make better use of the unused maternity rooms which resulted in a local capital campaign, Project Forward. These efforts resulted in nearly $1 million donated to MRHC over the past year. Significant legacy donations continue to be made to the organization based on the positive impact the hospital is having on the four-county area.

“Rural healthcare reimbursement continues to be a challenge, but Linn has advocated for funding at the local, state, and federal levels,” said MRHC’s CFO, Amy McLaughlin, CPA, CHFP. “Her efforts have helped to increase Medicaid reimbursement, increase cash reserves, decrease the percentage of write-offs, and reduce the average days in AR. She challenges staff to think creatively to track down reimbursements, keep expenditures reasonable, and produce a bottom line in the black.”

Block has also garnered respect among her peers in neighboring communities and hospitals across the state, as well as MRHC employees, community members, and patients.

“Linn can often be seen in the hallways asking how an employee’s day is going, talking to a patient to ensure they receive the care they deserve, or grabbing a coffee and talking with community members,” said CNO, Michelle Andersen, RN, BSN.

Block excels in community engagement by being visible in the community, serving in leadership capacities for local and industry organizations such as Manning Rotary and encourages employees to contribute to community causes such as boy scouts, upcoming events, the Manning Community Chest, the giving tree, Hillside splash, the public library, and more.

Employees have also shared the following about her: “Linn has brought fun and laughter into the workplace while supporting family-first values. We spend more hours a day with our co-workers than we do with our families, so we need to laugh and care for one another as family. This has definitely improved our culture and employee engagement”, “Linn is a very approachable leader and employees are comfortable talking with her about issues”, and “Linn is never afraid to say she doesn’t know something. She is very quick to say she will find out and she does.”

Not only is Block’s financial performance high and ability to connect with people impressive, nearly all MRHC departments have seen growth over the past three years under her leadership. Specialty clinic volumes have increased, same-day appointments were added in the family practice clinic, and most recently, the substance abuse recovery center has exceeded 95% capacity monthly.

“Patient satisfaction is at an all-time high with nearly 100% of patients sharing that they would recommend MRHC to others and many providing written and verbal testimonials of their care,” shared Director of Quality, Patient Advocacy & Risk Management, Jackie Blackwell, RN, BSN, CPHQ.

“I credit the incredible team of staff, providers, community members, and our board of directors for the successes MRHC has enjoyed,” shared Block. “They are always ‘all in’ in their commitment to the growth and impact of MRHC.”

Congratulations to Linn Block for receiving this deserving award and for her dedication to Manning Regional Healthcare Center, our communities, and patients.

MRHC Contributes to Community Beyond Healthcare

MRHC exterior

As a non-profit, critical access hospital, the mission and purpose of Manning Regional Healthcare Center (MRHC) is to serve those in the local community and provide a public benefit. Quality healthcare has a large community and economic impact, and it is essential for attracting other industries. Hospitals are generally among the largest employers. They offer highly educated, well-paying jobs and physicians are essential to maintaining operations.

“In addition to providing healthcare through the services we offer, we also provide widespread benefits to support our community,” said Chief Executive Officer, Linn Block, RN, BSN, MHA.

Community Impact

MRHC offers a variety of community education events, trainings, and clinics such as CPR, AED & First Aid training classes, blood drives, monthly wellness clinics, blood pressure clinics, concussion testing at the high school, and walk-in flu shot clinics. They also hold and participate in educational events, such as the Bike Rodeo, babysitting courses, Suicide Prevention Walk, Live Healthy Iowa Healthiest State Walk, Senior Fun Day, and Medicare Enrollment. Many of these efforts have a direct impact on the local economy and overall community health.

Most notably, MRHC held a Healthcare Career Camp for IKM-Manning middle and high school students to have an immersive experience learning about a variety of careers available within healthcare. This effort was recently funded by a University of Iowa grant to continue the program for more students and expand the offering to additional school districts.

“We are proud to share that in the past three years, we have provided nearly $100,000 in donations and community health improvement services to benefit our local communities,” shared Block.

MRHC has also supported foundations such as the IKM-Manning Education Foundation, West Central Iowa Healthcare Foundation, American Cancer Society, as well as community organizations such as Little Hawks Childcare Center, Manning Child Care Center, IKM-Manning Color Run, Kinderfest, Trail to Nowhere Bike Ride, Pack the Pantry, Fireman’s Golf Tourney, Main Street Manning, Manning Chamber, Manning Hausbarn Heritage Park, Manning Rotary, and Boy Scouts of America.

Last year, Manning Regional provided $98,873 in charity care and served more than 50 people through those efforts. Charity care is also known as uncompensated health care, which is provided for free, or at a reduced cost, to people with limited income who would otherwise be unable to pay for their treatment. Various types of financial assistance is provided to patients, and community education events and important information about health and well-being are shared through radio ads, news articles, social media, and the MRHC website.

Economic Impact

Economic impact of an organization is often measured in terms of employment, income (payroll and benefits), taxable retail sales and sales tax collections. According to the Iowa Hospital Association, during the most recent reporting period (2022), Manning Regional Healthcare Center provided 160 jobs representing more than $7 million in direct payroll income and an indirect $11.4 million impact on the local economy. The health sector and the employees in the health sector purchase many goods and services from local businesses which are referred to as secondary (or indirect) impacts to the economy.

“We are grateful to be able to make such an impact on our local communities,” said Block. “It takes all aspects of a community working together to be vibrant and strong.”

Carroll Co. Growth Partnership Attends Annual Access Washington Trip

Linn and Dawn in DC
Block and Meyer Voice Area Concerns

By: Pam Kusel

It has been two years since Carroll County Growth Partnership has traveled on their annual Access Washington trip to visit with the Congressional delegation, federal agencies, and others to discuss important issues in Carroll County. COVID-19 and government shut downs kept the group from traveling to Washington DC the past two years. This year, the group brought a full slate of issues to discuss and new faces to experience our nation’s capital.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to go to Washington DC to advocate for rural healthcare,” said Manning Regional Healthcare Center CEO, Linn Block. “As Iowa saw its first hospital closure this year, the impact of many years of reimbursement pressures will continue to put the future of rural healthcare in jeopardy. MRHC has consistently been a leader in working alongside state and federal policy makers to ensure they understand our challenges as we continue to meet the needs of our community.” Linn and Dawn in DC

Dawn Meyer, Manning City Administrator, said, “We met with all four of the House representatives from Iowa and their staff. We also met with a representative of the Biden administration. We talked about a number of issues specific to Manning. We brought a proposed change for David-Bacon, which is a federal regulation relating to contracts that involve federal money. This is a long-term issue. In the past we have received quick turnarounds, such as the gas line. We also brought up several healthcare concerns; things that are important to MRHC. We felt it was important to support those issues, and Linn (Block) presented very well on that, and we got some good feedback from elected officials.”

Healthcare dominated the trip, being the leading issue brought by private industry. Linn Block, MRHC CEO, asked for continued support and funding of the 340B program, which has a large impact to their bottom line and helping provide healthcare in the Manning area. Both requests were given support from the entire Iowa delegation (four Congressional offices and two Senate offices). Allen Anderson, CEO of St. Anthony Regional Hospital, discussed the importance of the rural demonstration program and the funding support it gives to the Carroll hospital.

Kimberly Tiefenthaler, Executive Director of Carroll County Growth Partnership led the group to DC on her first Access Washington trip. “Access Washington is a phenomenal opportunity for our organization, area businesses, and constituency to bring issues to our nation’s leaders,” stated Tiefenthaler.

The City of Carroll discussed issues regarding the wastewater treatment plant and effluent limitations. This was discussed at all congressional meetings and of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking for guidance to solve the problem and help the taxpayers of the city of Carroll. Other issues consisted of volunteer EMS support, transportation infrastructure (four-lane Highway 30), Davis-Bacon, Economic Development Administration reauthorization, and housing rehab. All issues gained the support of the Iowa delegation who were willing to help find solutions.

A highlight of the trip was meeting with Will McIntee, Associate Director of Public Engagement with the Biden Administration. The group met with Will at the Eisenhower Executive Office on the White House Campus, just down the hall from the Vice President’s office.

“We attend this trip looking for help and guidance to solve problems that people and businesses are facing here in Carroll County. Some years, CCGP has accomplished those tasks and some years, we continue to build relationships with the leaders in Washington DC. Either way, this trip is a benefit for the people of Carroll County,” stated Tiefenthaler.

Carroll County Growth Partnership invests in this trip every year and is to be used as a resource and benefit to Carroll County. Any leader or business can bring their issue and attend the trip in the future.

Attendees of the trip were: Kimberly Tiefenthaler, Carroll County Growth Partnership; Rick Hunsaker, Region XII Council of Governments; Dawn Meyer, City of Manning; Gene Meiners, Carroll County Supervisor; LaVern Dirkx, Carroll City Councilman; Mike Pogge-Weaver, City of Carroll; Allen Anderson, St. Anthony Regional Hospital; Linn Block, Manning Regional Healthcare Center; and Matt Meiners, Carroll Co. Growth Partnership.