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Olson takes over as CEO

WORTHINGTON -- Lynn Olson will be the new chief executive officer for Worthington Regional Hospital, effective June 30. Sanford Health made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

Olson will replace Mel Platt, who will retire on June 30, at the same time the hospital transfers from city ownership to Sanford Health. In August 2007, Platt had announced his decision to retire this summer, after 20 years at the hospital.

Olson brings with him nearly 30 years experience in health care and 15 years experience as a CEO. Most recently, Olson was chief operating officer of Monticello-Big Lake Hospital, a 130-bed hospital/nursing home in Monticello.

"Throughout the interview process and during my visits to this community, I have been very impressed with the hospital management and staff," Olson said. "I am also looking forward to working with Sanford Health because of their reputation for high quality as well as their integrated health-care system approach. I am joining a great team."

Olson was chosen through an extensive selection process that included visits with community leaders and WRH staff as well as interviews with the current Worthington Regional Hospital Board of Trustees.

"The board was very impressed with Lynn's history and experience in the interview process, and we are very pleased he was selected to serve as the next CEO for Worthington," said board chairman Dave Jueneman.

Olson grew up on a dairy farm near Zumbrota. He has a bachelor's degree from Winona State University and a master's in health service administration from the College of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. He and his wife, Rene, a special education teacher, will live in Worthington.

"Lynn's Midwestern roots as well as his experience in health care make him a wonderful choice for this position," said Ed Weiland, president of Sanford Health Network. "He will be an outstanding leader as Worthington Regional begins a new relationship with Sanford Health."

With the transfer of ownership, the hospital will get a new name -- Sanford Regional Hospital in Worthington. Employees are currently completing paperwork concerning the change of employer, according to Platt.

"We found out that the governor has signed the PERA augmentation legislation," he said Wednesday, referring to Public Employees Retirement Association benefits for which legislation was necessary since the hospital staff members will no longer be public employees. "The legislation automatically kicks in, so there will be no break (in benefits) for the staff. It will be very transparent for them. Because of the law, they will be eligible for the augmentation available through that legislation.

"We've had PERA sessions for the staff and individual counseling sessions," Platt continued. "The 401(k) sessions are in process and should be done today. There are a number of things that staff need to do in order to continue their employment beyond June 30. That's progressing very well."