In the driver’s seat

CCMSD introduces new CEO Nathan Hough

By Sarah Pridgeon

Just over a week after arriving in Crook County to take over as the permanent administrator for the hospital district, CEO Nathan Hough has already set the goal that he intends to aspire to.

“Down on the whiteboard in our meeting room is a statement to be the best critical access hospital in Wyoming. I think that’s a good goal – initially, then we can move beyond Wyoming,” he grins.

(Sarah Pridgeon photo) Newly-appointed CCMSD Administrator Nathan Hough.
(Sarah Pridgeon photo) Newly-appointed CCMSD Administrator Nathan Hough.

“My plan is to ensure healthcare in Sundance and in the county for long into the future. One of things I think we need to decide is what we do, and do that well, and make sure those services are there for the county now and moving into the future – top quality care.”

Originally from Minnesota, Hough brings two decades of healthcare experience to the table as he takes the reins of the district. He holds a Masters degree in Healthcare Administration.

“I’ve been in healthcare for nearly 20 years. I started out at the bedside as a respiratory therapist and then through the years I gained more responsibilities,” he says.

“I came here from Benefis in Great Falls, I was Operations Director for the medical group up there.”

Approached by Joe Rude of Health Management Services through a mutual friend, Hough was eager to take on the role, he says.

“My first impression is that there’s a lot of potential here. I grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota, so did my wife – my wife is from a town of about 91 people, I’m from a town of about 1300 people,” he explains.

“One of my first management jobs was at a facility very similar to this in my home town and so that’s always been near and dear to me – small organizations in rural America.”

Hough has already been brought up to speed on the situation at Crook County Medical Services District and is aware of recent events that saw Regional Health pull out of its partnership. He has also noticed the passion that the community has for its hospital district.

“I’ve noticed it just in the short time I’ve been here, from board members to community members to staff,” he nods.

“I think with a clear direction, now that we have the ability to make those decisions ourselves as a board and as an organization, that the future is very bright. We can dictate what our future is going to be and where we want to head with that future.”

Hough intends to get together with the Board of Trustees and Rude in the near future and address how the district should move forward, its role in the community and what the community needs the district for, he says.

“Long term care is definitely an area of concern, they don’t want to lose that in the region, along with primary care and inpatient care. What are we going to do to make sure it stays here indefinitely?” he says.

“I’ve got some meetings in the near future on looking at the facilities themselves. I know there’s talk of doing something different in Hulett as far as a clinic and we’ve got an opportunity to move some departments around here in Sundance, so we really need to decide what kind of commitment we need to make to those departments: if they’re good where they’re at [or not].”

Hough believes that a fresh set of eyes could be an advantage for the district and would like to do an environmental walkthrough of the facilities.

“What do we need to be? Where do we need to be?” he lists as the questions that the district should be asking itself.

“Are we meeting the codes that we are required to meet? Things like that. And then take a look at the things that we need to do to get into compliance if we do happen to be out.”

In the meantime, Hough will spend time getting to know his new home.

“I moved here with my wife and my youngest son. We’re intending to become part of the community,” he says.

“Our intent is to move here and truly become integrated. This isn’t just a job for me, this is a place where I’m going to invite my family and where we’re going to live.”

While he goes about exploring his new community and setting the future path of the district, he also welcomes the public to stop in for a visit.

“My door is always open – I’m easy to find,” he smiles.