Posted 9/26/12 (Wed)
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
McKenzie County Healthcare Systems (MCHS) recently welcomed Tucker Petersen as its new clinic manager and MCHS chief operating officer.
Petersen has spent most of his life living in Michigan. In 2002, he graduated from Vicksburg High School, then began school at Brigham Young University in the fall, where he graduated with a Bachelors’ degree in Organizational Sociology in 2008.
Once graduating, he returned to Michigan, where he soon started graduate school at the University of Michigan, and in 2011, received his Master’s degree in Health Care Administration.
“I have worked in many different kinds of health care facilities,” states Petersen. “I’ve been on staff at a 900-bed hospital in Philadelphia and a 60-bed facility in southwest Michigan.”
Before moving to North Dakota and accepting a position with MCHS, Petersen worked as an administrative officer for Physical Medication and Rehabilitation at a veterans hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“I started there as an Administrative Fellow,” Petersen states. “That grew into an administrative position with the hospital.”
Petersen states that he had been looking to get back into the private/non-profit sector of health care when he came across a position with the MCHS.
After a long interview process, he came out for a visit in June, and was “intrigued by the challenges and opportunities that come with a growing community.”
So intrigued, in fact, that it made the position with MCHS difficult to turn down.
Petersen accepted the position, and in August, he and his wife, Amanda, moved to North Dakota with their two children, a 2½-year-old boy and a 10-week-old girl.
“Things have been going very well so far,” states Petersen, who has spent the first several weeks of his new position becoming acclimated with the hospital system and the community.
Petersen’s primary responsibility is the clinic, which has become an entity of its own since the onset of the oil boom.
“It serves the community’s primary care needs,” states Petersen. “Therefore my goal is to help make sure it is running as efficiently as possible at the lowest cost possible.”
Which, according to Petersen, can be difficult with a rural, stand-alone, hospital system.
“Rural health care costs a lot more to provide than urban health care,” Petersen states.
To accomplish Petersen’s goal for the clinic, he has identified some necessary steps that he hopes to guide the clinic in taking.
“We need more providers, and we need to increase the clinic’s capacity to see patients more quickly,” states Petersen.
Since the boom, the clinic has not been as able to see patients as soon as they want and need to be seen, and Petersen states he would like to help change that.
“We are talking about working toward having the clinic open for some evening and weekend walk-in hours,” states Petersen.
Another goal Petersen has for the clinic is to increase the utilization of Electronic Medical Records (EMR).
“We have a full compliment of EMRs that serve the community, which can help decrease cost and increase efficiency and the quality of care patients receive,” states Petersen.
Petersen states that he is very eager to continue meeting with community leaders to see what they want in terms of health care in Watford City and McKenzie County.