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Sanford welcomes new CEO

WORTHINGTON -- A week after beginning his new job as chief executive officer of Sanford Worthington Regional Hospital/Sanford Worthington Clinic, Michael Hammer is finally getting around to remembering the numerous names he's learned so far.

"Everyone seems to remember my name," he added jokingly on Tuesday from his office.

Hammer arrived at his new post April 23, replacing former CEO Lynn Olson, who resigned in November 2011.Hammer brings with him 30 years of experience in the health administration field. Hammer's most recent experience was a 19-year stint at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center, Merrill, Wis.

Sanford Worthington Regional Hospital is roughly the same size as the Good Samaritan facility, he said, but the more integrated health care system and the potential to grow drew him to Worthington.

"Here, the clinic, orthopedic clinic and the cancer center work under one umbrella," he detailed.

When he applied for the position in Sanford, Hammer explained that he and his wife, Wendy, were looking for a similar-sized community to Merrill, a city of about 10,700 people.

"In the industry, I had heard a lot about Sanford being very well respected, well-led and very committed to quality," he continued. "Professionally, I thought that if I could be a part of Sanford that would be really nice."

Growing up in Milwaukee, Wis., Hammer aspired to work in the health care industry. He enrolled as a pre-med student in Concordia College, Moorhead.

"The college had the administration program which fit my passion of working with a team of health-care providers," he said. "It's very rewarding."

Upon obtaining his bachelor's degree, he pursued a master's degree in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota.

"With his background as an administrator and his proven ability in establishing relationships, we are delighted to have Michael lead our medical center," said Sanford Health Network president, Ed Weiland in a press release. "He has the expertise and leadership skills to continue the tradition of care already provided by the physicians and staff at Sanford Worthington Medical Center/Sanford Worthington Clinic."

Having been selected to take the helm of Sanford Worthington, Hammer looks forward to overseeing the many changes that are occurring in the hospital, including the hospital remodeling project and the recent hiring of several new doctors.

"There's a lot of momentum to build on," he added. "What drives me is absolute commitment to patient care -- quality and service. It has to be topnotch, and we can do that with the strong team here."

Hammer's first week on the job consisted primarily of meeting Sanford employees as well as several community members and learning the operations of Sanford Worthington. Once he is settled into the rhythm of work, he expects to be involved in community organizations. He is particularly keen on civic engagement.

His wife, Wendy, will relocate to Worthington once their house in Merrill is sold. The couple have two children, Nathan and Kelsey.

Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony may be reached at 376-7321.

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