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Hospital seeks new CEO after integration with UnityPoint

The GRMC hopes to appoint a new CEO by mid to early summer of 2018. Doris Rindels is serving in the interim. Photo by Sofia Mendez.
The GRMC hopes to appoint a new CEO by mid to early summer of 2018. Doris Rindels is serving in the interim. Photo by Sofia Mendez.

On Jan. 1, the CEO of Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC), Todd Linden, stepped down from his position, handing it over to interim CEO Doris Rindels. The transfer was made following an integration agreement with UnityPoint Health in Des Moines. Rindels will remain in the position until a permanent replacement for Linden is found. 

In the interim, Grinnell’s only hospital continues to operate as usual. “We remain focused on the day-to-day process of medical care,” Rindels said. “There’s [a] search on for a new CEO, so I can’t speak to what changes could potentially take place with the new CEO, but we have a local search committee in place. I anticipate that, with the community involvement and with local folks helping with that search, that we’ll have someone with the same types of values and leadership that we’ve been accustomed to here at the medical center.”

Regarding the circumstances surrounding Linden’s departure, Rindels noted convenient timing as a major factor.

“He’d been here for 24 years and he was contemplating stepping down. Then, with the timing of the integration with UnityPoint, he just felt the timing was right. It’s by his choice, and that’s what his aspirations were. That’s the only way to explain it.”

Linden could not be reached for comment by press time.

To ensure a smooth transition, according to Rindels, Linden continues to work one or two days per week. 

“He is working on the integration process as well as transitioning his previous CEO duties to me. 24 years, he was in the CEO position, and I’ve just been doing this interim position since Jan. 1, so there’s a lot of knowledge he’s trying to pass on to me in a very short time.”

As the weeks roll by, the GRMC is looking forward to the new future in association with UnityPoint. One of the main priorities is finding a new permanent leader for the institution.

“Hopefully by early to mid-summer we will have someone in place here: the new CEO,” Rindels said. “There’s been a process of screening applicants, but they haven’t even forwarded those names of those applications on to the local search committee yet. I can tell you that I don’t even know who the applicants are at this point.”

For now, Rindels remains at the head of the institution. She noted that she has served in the hospital for many years. 

“I’ve been on the administrative team as the vice president of operations for the last ten years, and have worked in the hospital for 39 years in one way, shape or form,” she said. “I’m a nurse by background, and the emergency room was my home before I changed to leadership, so the day to day operations are what I love doing.”

That emergency room has seen an upgrade under Rindels’s leadership, as the newly-renovated Brownell Emergency Center held its open house on Feb. 26. The project, funded by donations from individual community members and significant support from Brownell’s, has been in the works for years.

Beyond facilities upgrades, Rindels says that some of the responsibilities of her new position are different from those she held previously. 

“There’s some difference, but with [Linden] still doing the integration piece, that really allows the remaining administrative team to stay focused on the day-to-day operations and ensuring high care to our patients.”

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