February 2001

Meet the Leader of Gettysburg Medical Center, Gettysburg, S.D.

0201Schmidt Photo

Mark Schmidt
President and Chief Executive Officer
Gettysburg Medical Center
Gettysburg, S.D.

Mark Schmidt believes that Catholic Health Initiatives’ spirit of innovation is helping to sustain and strengthen Gettysburg Medical Center, located in rural Gettysburg, S.D. "We embrace that spirit of innovation, which is reflected in our multiple levels of care," Schmidt said. "While other rural facilities invested in antiquated acute care models, Gettysburg Medical Center listened to the community and adapted to its needs with new services."

Today, Gettysburg Medical Center includes a 7-bed critical access hospital; a 54-bed nursing home with a memory care unit for patients with Alzheimer’s disease; a 16-bed assisted living facility; a congregate housing unit; and a wellness center. With 90 staff members, Gettysburg Medical Center is one of the smallest organizations within Catholic Health Initiatives, but is the largest employer in its community.
Schmidt was named president and chief executive officer of the medical center in July 1997. He joined the organization as chief financial officer in 1994 after working in banking for several years. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., and has completed courses toward a master’s degree in health care administration through the University of South Dakota in Vermilion. Schmidt’s wife, Cindy, a native of Gettysburg, cares for their three sons: Joshua, 10; Jerrid, seven; and Jordan, four.

One of the challenges Schmidt faces is to attract professional staff to a community of 1,300 with a declining and aging population. "We’re using tuition reimbursement programs to recruit employees while they are still in school," he said. "We’ve also established a training center where underemployed people can qualify for positions within our organization. Our affiliation with St. Mary’s Healthcare Center in Pierre helps us with physician recruitment and many other functions, such as information technology, grant writing and financial services."

Schmidt sees better days ahead for all of rural health care. "I feel energized not only by Catholic Health Initiatives’ commitment to rural health care, but by the tremendous national attention that is now being given to rural health issues by politicians and the media," he said. "I hope that trend continues."