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‘I’m excited to be here.’ Portneuf Medical Center welcomes new CEO

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Jordan Herget | Courtesy Portneuf Medical Center

POCATELLO — A new chief executive officer is taking the reigns at Portneuf Medical Center.

In late August, Jordan Herget returned to Idaho to start in his new position as CEO at Portneuf. He replaced Mark Gregson, who served as interim CEO during a nationwide search for a permanent leader.

Herget lived in Idaho years ago while working at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center as the chief operating officer from 2007-10.

“I’m excited to be here,” Herget told EastIdahoNews.com. “In the first week-and-a-half that I’ve been here, I’ve probably met 400 or 500 people, and it’s hard when you can’t shake hands (due to COVID-19) … because it was so welcoming here.”

Herget was previously working in Roseville, California where he was senior vice president and area manager for a health care company called Kaiser Permanente. He oversaw the 340-bed Kaiser Roseville Medical Center and the area’s Kaiser Foundation Health Plan with 350,000 members, plus a combined total of 2,800 employees, a news release explains.

He said he’ll now oversee 1,500 staff members, including a little more than 75 doctors and mid-levels, plus 380 active medical staff at Portneuf. He noted that the hospital has 205 licensed beds in the facility and a 20-bed intensive care unit.

Although Herget never thought he’d be moving to a new hospital during a pandemic, his experiences in California, such as handling COVID-19, is knowledge he plans to bring to Portneuf. At his former hospital, he mentioned that it would have anywhere from 30 to 40 positive COVID-19 patients at one time.

“When community spreads started happening in California, and staff … or patients would bring it in (and) you wouldn’t know about it, the masks, social distancing, hand washing, and other PPE (personal protective equipment), help prevent transmission,” he stated. “Fortunately, we had zero transmission within the setting of the hospital because we were protecting our staff.”

Jordan Herget in front of the Welcome to Idaho sign. | Courtesy Portneuf Medical Center

Herget said when it comes to COVID-19 at Portneuf, a surge plan is ready to be activated if needed. The plan looks at how they can convert some of the rooms and use different wings of the hospital to care for COVID patients.

“Right now we’re in a good shape,” he noted. “We’re comfortably caring for the patients.”

Providing top-quality patient care is important to Herget, whether it’s during a pandemic or not. That’s part of why Matt Maxfield, division president, said Herget was an ideal choice for Portneuf.

“Jordan and his wife Julie know the area well, and his career history is a great match for Portneuf Medical Center,” Maxfield explained in a news release. “He has significant experience leading an integrated health system with population health initiatives.”

Herget said Portneuf’s level two trauma program, its NICU and the fact that its partners with the Portneuf Health Trust help the hospital stand out above other local facilities. The Portneuf Health Trust works to identify major initiatives in the region that will improve the health of residents, and helps form collaborative partnerships to drive those initiatives, according to their website.

“The fact that we’re partnering with that organization and that they’re invested in the hospital is huge,” Herget said.

He explained in a news release that Portneuf is an “outstanding hospital,” and he’s committed to collaborating with the medical community and Portneuf employees to build on the history of quality care.

“I look forward to being fully engaged with the local community, listening to what they need and want from their medical center,” he stated.

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