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Maertens stepping down at Avera Marshall

MARSHALL — Avera Marshall Medical Center announced Thursday that Mary Maertens will be stepping down as CEO and regional president.

Maertens’ last day as CEO and regional president will be Sept. 30, although she will have advisory duties with Avera through October 2021.

“Mary has helped transform health care in southwest Minnesota and made significant advancements in growing the Avera Marshall Region,” said Bob Sutton, president and CEO of Avera Health. “I know that many of us have rethought where we are in life as we go through this pandemic. It is with utmost respect that I accepted Mary’s change as CEO and regional president. On behalf of Avera, I thank Mary for her many contributions to Avera Marshall over the years.”

“It is with mixed emotions that I share the decision to step down as CEO and regional president for Avera Marshall. I have dedicated 35 years of my life to this wonderful organization and to ensuring that this region has sustainable, vibrant health care into the future,” Maertens said.

Now, Maertens said she will be making a major shift in her life, but one that will allow her to spend time with her family. Maertens said events like the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as events in her personal life, made her think about her priorities and focus.

“I am looking forward to exploring new avenues and opportunities, and I have great confidence in our interim leadership,” Maertens said.

Avera said a transition plan for Maertens’ resignation starts immediately. Mark Vortherms, Avera Medical Group’s vice president of primary care, and Curt Hohman, senior vice president of managed facilities, will serve as interim co-leaders for the Avera Marshall region over the next four to six months. Over that time, Sutton said Avera will work with stakeholders and the hospital board to talk about a search process for a new leader at Avera Marshall.

Sutton said Vortherms and Hohman would have a hands-on role as interim leaders.

“One, if not both, will be on the ground in Marshall at any given time,” Sutton said.

Sutton said he expects to have a permanent leader in place at Avera Marshall by early 2021.

Maertens had a career spanning 35 years at Avera Marshall. She started as a nursing assistant and worked up into nursing leadership, later joining the administrative field. As CEO and president, Maertens led Avera Marshall through a lot of growth and changes, many coming over the past decade. Avera Marshall added specialists and new services like behavioral health and optical care, expanded its emergency department, and built the Avera Cancer Institute Marshall.

“That was, clinically, the most sophisticated thing we had ever done,” Maertens said.

Maertens also led the acquisitions of the ACMC practice in Marshall, Avera Tyler and Avera Granite Falls Health Center.

Maertens has also been a leader for the Avera health system’s service lines in behavioral health, eye care, laboratory and nephrology.

“Her impact is across the system,” Sutton said. Leading the laboratory service line also put Maertens at the forefront of planning discussions for response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

In addition, Maertens has been involved with the Minnesota Hospital Association, including as board chair, and she has served as a member of the American Hospital Association board of trustees, as chair of the regional policy board.

Maertens said it would be difficult to leave her role with the Avera Marshall region. But at the same time, there would be new challenges ahead to face.

“The people I will certainly miss,” she said. Maertens said she was “incredibly grateful” to have led and worked alongside the staff and health care providers in the Marshall region.

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