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Q&A with Jake Erickson, CEO of Bingham Memorial Hospital

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | November 19, 2019
Jake Erickson
From the November 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

This month’s spotlight is on Bingham Memorial in Blackfoot Idaho. CEO Jake Erickson took the time to speak with HealthCare Business News to share information about his background, strengths of his organization, the challenges it’s facing and the challenges facing healthcare overall.

HCB News: What inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare?
JE: I started out in college not really knowing what I wanted to go into. I grew up on a farm and ranch, the ninth of 10 kids. So it was a big family and obviously with a big family, there was a lot of healthcare services that happened in our family. I experienced quite a few of those, with lots of stitches and a few broken bones throughout my life. But as a consumer or participant in healthcare, you don’t really think much about it. They’re there and they help you and you feel better and you go on with your life. That changed while I was in college.

When I went to college, I was taking business classes to get my degree. I took a little detour and got the idea that I wanted to become an optometrist. So I was working at an optometry clinic. I liked it and started taking pre-med classes. It was okay, but it really just wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. The guy I was working with at the optometry clinic was just finishing his degree in healthcare administration. He told me a little about what he was doing and how he really wanted to stay in healthcare, but he wanted to be on the business side. I started to look into that since I had quite a bit of my business degree done.

I was introduced to the CEO of a hospital in the same community where I was going to school. He took the time to sit down and talk to me about what he did and his path to getting there and what he liked about the job. He encouraged me to basically get a job in the hospital to see if I liked it. I applied for a couple of different positions, first working in materials management in the inventory side of things, and then I was recruited to the operating room to work as an anesthesia tech. I finished my MBA with an emphasis on healthcare management while working in the operating room.

Soon after I finished my Masters, I got an opportunity to start a new pain management program at Bingham. I started here as a special project manager, then an assistant administrator, chief operating officer and now CEO.

HCB News: How long have you been with Bingham Memorial?
JE: This is my 13th year.

HCB News: Why did you choose Bingham Memorial?
JE: They gave me my first opportunity and I liked it here. It was close to where I grew up and close to my wife’s family as well, so we decided to stay for those reasons. But opportunities kept coming, so that kept me here.

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