The Riverwood Healthcare Center Governing Board of Directors has selected Chad Cooper as chief executive officer with an anticipated start date of July 1. Michael Hagen, current Riverwood CEO for the past 12 years, announced his retirement last fall.
Cooper is an experienced and accomplished health care executive with 16 years of successful and progressive experience as a chief executive officer. He has successfully led both independent and system-based health care organizations.
In 2006, Cooper joined Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) as the president and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare Center in Pierre, S.D., where he was responsible for the overall leadership and operation of a 60-bed hospital, a 105-bed long-term care facility and a 58-unit independent living complex.
Currently, he is serving as the president of another CHI facility, Unity Family Healthcare, in Little Falls, Minn., where he is responsible for leading both St. Gabriel’s Hospital and the Albany Area Hospital & Medical Center, along with multiple physician practices consisting of more than 40 employed physicians and other practitioners. Within this role, he has helped lead St. Gabriel’s Hospital through the Joint Commission accreditation process, supported the recruitment of four new physicians in his first 18 months, helped to significantly improve the overall financial performance of the organization, and recently began an initiative to implement the principles of the Patient Centered Medical Home across St. Gabriel’s employed primary care practice.
“Chad has a sincere commitment and strong passion for helping the health systems he has served become the best they can be,” says Mike Paulbeck, Riverwood Healthcare Governing Board of Directors. “His health care management expertise is an excellent match for the skills needed to guide Riverwood successfully into the future.”
A native of Alexandria, Minn., Cooper began his career in health care management as chief operating officer at Grant County Health Center in Elbow Lake, Minn., in 1995 and went on to serve as chief executive officer for hospitals in Sleepy Eye, 1996 to 1999, and Blue Earth, 1999-2006.
“Leading a rural health care organization is really where my roots are and where my passion lies,” Cooper explains. “Our industry is in the midst of some significant and transformational changes and success in the future will not necessarily be defined by all of the same metrics as in the past. While the imperative for change will bring with it both challenges and opportunities alike, I look forward to embracing that change head on alongside the many topnotch leaders, clinicians and other health care professionals at Riverwood.”
Cooper received a business degree in hospital administration from Concordia College in Moorhead and completed his master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Minnesota in 2008.
“Riverwood’s selection of Chad Cooper as its next leader is excellent given his outstanding qualifications and character,” says Dr. Shawn Roberts, general surgeon who practices at Riverwood who has known Cooper for 20 years since they were college roommates. “I know him and his family very well and he will be a wonderful asset for the community as well as the medical system.”
Hagen adds: “I’m very pleased with the board’s selection of Chad Cooper to take over the leadership of Riverwood. His experience managing critical access hospitals and clinics in rural communities plus his passion for supporting the delivery of high quality health care services provide a great fit for the needs of our organization and the communities we serve.”
Cooper and his wife Beth have two children, Matthew (8) and Grace (7). They enjoy golfing and spending time at their cabin on Lake Miltona in the Alexandria area. He also enjoys deer and pheasant hunting.