Amery Hospital & Clinic CEO to retire

9/18/2014

Amery Hospital & Clinic announced earlier this year that CEO Michael Karuschak, Jr. will retire Dec. 1, 2014. Today, Debra Rudquist, who has been a leader in health care for over 30 years, was named his successor.

“As a strong advocate for the local communities we serve, Mike has touched many lives and hearts over the last 27 years – and mine is one of them,” said Dr. James Quenan, Chief Medical Officer of Amery Hospital & Clinic. “Mike has led us through tremendous change, setting a clear, strategic vision that has helped produce improved quality and experience for our patients. Debra will continue that tradition.”

Karuschak started at Amery Hospital & Clinic in 1987. During his tenure, he oversaw the merger of the Family Medical Clinic and Apple River Hospital in 1998 creating Amery Regional Medical Center. In January 2014, the medical center realized another partnership by joining HealthPartners and becoming Amery Hospital & Clinic. The facility has become one of the largest employers in Polk Country and has clinic locations in four communities.

Other highlights under Karuschak’s leadership include:

  • Opening rural health care clinics in Luck (2000) and Turtle Lake (2006), new fitness centers in Amery (2006) and Luck (2007), and expanding the Clear Lake Clinic.
  • Opening a new environmentally friendly 120,000 square foot health facility in 2007, providing expanded and improved operating rooms, emergency rooms, private patient rooms, on-site MRI and CT scanner, a chapel, rain gardens, green roofs and a community walking path.
  • A new 10-bed inpatient geriatric mental health facility in 2008
  • A new wound healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy in 2008
  • Earning a ‘Best Overall Hospital Rating’ by Quorum Health Resources in 2003 and 2004.
“Over the last 27 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside an extraordinary team of individuals – people who give of themselves and deeply care about the welfare of our patients and families,” said Karuschak. “Together, we have faced some difficult challenges and forged ahead. Because I worked with such a great team, these challenges turned into achievements. Our patients and communities have always been our top priority and that will continue with Debra.”

Rudquist began her career in health care as a registered nurse at the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Minneapolis. She then spent 19 years at Allina Health, where she held several positions, including executive director of ambulatory services. For the past five years, Debra has been a leader at Fairview Health Services as vice president of the cardiovascular service line. Under her leadership, Rudquist oversaw strategic and operational management of 13 cardiovascular clinics, three cardiovascular labs, two electrophysiology programs, two cardiothoracic surgery programs and a heart transplant & ventricular assist device program. She was a member of the Fairview Senior Leadership Council.

Rudquist is also a board member of Range Regional Health Services and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. She received her undergraduate degree from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. She has a Master’s in Nursing Administration from the University of Minnesota and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Rudquist will formally begin her employment Oct. 29, and will assume the role of president and CEO Dec. 2.

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