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.