HR Administration

Memorial Hospital of Union County: Optimas Award Winner for Corporate Citizenship

By Max Mihelich

Nov. 1, 2012

Eight years ago, Memorial Hospital of Union County had a poor reputation among the people and businesses in its Marysville, Ohio, community, the hospital says.

“Memorial Hospital of yesterday was described as a rural hospital that needed their community to survive and always seemed to have their hand out,” says vice president of human resources Carman Wirtz. Instead of Memorial, many of Marysville’s citizens were choosing to head to larger suburban hospitals for their health care needs.

“We wanted to move away from the stigma of a county hospital and become a location where our neighbors, friends and family were proud to call us their hometown hospital,” Wirtz says.

Under the leadership of new president and CEO Olas “Chip” Hubbs, Memorial Hospital brought back financial accountability and imposed strict authorization limits on new contracts and purchasing. The hospital’s leadership also met with members of the community to understand the public’s perception of the hospital and receive suggestions on how to fix the tough problems it faced. Hubbs then made it mandatory for all management personnel to volunteer in the community.

Memorial now partners with numerous local businesses for health fairs and occupational health screenings. Some employees coach Little League teams, while others volunteer through the United Way. The hospital also helped create a Healthy Children program for Marysville schools.

Memorial Hospital says it understands that its success is tied to that of the broader Marysville community. One way it works to ensure this mutual success is by supporting uptown Marysville renewal projects to encourage growth and expand city infrastructure. “You will always find them [Memorial Hospital] supporting our community and businesses in one facet or another,” says Marysville Mayor John Gore in a written statement provided by the hospital.

Memorial’s new financial and collaborative practices helped steer the hospital to a strong 6 percent operating margin in 2011, and national recognition for being in the top 5 percent of hospitals for outstanding patient experience by Healthgrades Inc. The hospital is also rated first in patient safety in Ohio by Consumer Reports. “Our little hospital has done amazing things,” Wirtz says. “Because our community believed in us, and we believed in it.”

For its new organizational culture and collaborative business efforts, Memorial Hospital of Union County is the 2012 winner of the Optimas Award for Corporate Citizenship.

Max Mihelich is Workforce’s intern. Comment below or email

Workforce Management, November 2012, p. 26Subscribe Now!

Max Mihelich is a writer in the Chicago area.

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