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Q & A with Bear Lake Memorial CEO Michael Blauer

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | October 04, 2019
Michael Blauer
From the October 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

At the time of this interview, Michael Blauer had been in the position of CEO at Bear Lake Memorial for a grand total of six days. Over the decade of doing hospital spotlight, this was a record for speaking with a new CEO. But Michael comes to the position with experience, familiarity with the community and a strong fondness for his new hospital. We may check back with Mike after he’s had six years under his belt to get updates.

HCB News: What inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare?
Michael Blauer: I actually have a background in Spanish and I was an interpreter in a hospital in the area when I was an undergrad at Idaho State University. I worked at that hospital and it fascinated me. I really enjoyed the exposure to the atmosphere and the people I got to associate with. It piqued an interest in me and I ended up pursuing a graduate degree in healthcare administration. My career since then has been in critical access hospitals.

HCB News: What attracted you to Bear Lake Memorial?
MB: Bear Lake is an amazing space. I grew up in Idaho, so I’m a little partial to the place in general, but I was looking around, and when I heard of the opening here, I knew it was in a beautiful area of the state because I spent a bit of time out here. It has a reputation for being a great facility. It’s been recognized as a top critical access hospital. In fact, it’s the third year in a row that we’ve been among the top 100 critical access hospitals in the country. Last year, we were in the top 20. So obviously, that was attractive and a validation of a well-run facility.

I came out, interviewed and met the team, and fell in love with the place. It’s a caring team and a well-run organization. I was excited about the opportunity and glad it worked out.

HCB News: Being that you grew up in Idaho and served as a CEO in another hospital in the state — were you familiar with Bear Lake Memorial before the position opened, and how did you hear about it?
MB: I was familiar with the facility and knew some of the folks who were in the role before. When the position opened, I had a few colleagues in the state tell me about it. I had friends text me and family in the area tell me about it.

HCB News: What is the employee culture and management style like?
MB: There’s an internal vision statement for the hospital, “Most caring hospital on earth.” It’s the hospital’s culture put into a simple phrase. When you walk around, you can feel it — how patient-oriented everyone is and how focused on caring. I think part of that comes from being a very close-knit community. People care about the community, their neighbors and obviously their families. I love the fact that it’s called out in the hospital’s internal vision.

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