April 2001

Meet the Leader of St. Joseph´s Area Health Services, Park Rapids, Minn.


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Peter Jacobson
President and Chief Executive Officer
St. Joseph´s Area Health Services
Park Rapids, Minn.


With a $5 million expansion completed in the fall of 2000, St. Joseph’s Area Health Services includes a 50-bed acute care hospital that offers a wider variety of services and facilities than many hospitals of its size. "Park Rapids is 180 miles from the Twin Cities and 90 miles from Fargo and is a bit isolated, so we are fortunate to have a medical and nursing staff with diverse skills," said Peter Jacobson, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph’s. "We operate a home health agency and hospice, and we are also the public health provider for the county. Offering all of these services helps us stay focused on the real health needs of our community."

Park Rapids is in a resort area where the population goes from 23,000 during the winter to more than 60,000 during the summer. "We often get calls from people who want to move here and work in the hospital because they remember the beauty of the area from childhood summer vacations," said Jacobson. "It’s good for our recruiting."

Jacobson has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration from the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He joined St. Joseph’s last year from Fairview Lakes Regional Health Care in Wyoming, Minn., where he was chief operating officer. "When I felt ready to move into a chief executive role, I limited my search to Minnesota and to smaller organizations that had the potential to grow," he said. Jacobson’s wife, Ann, is a Lutheran minister who is pursuing post-graduate education while caring for the couple’s three children: Emily, 7, Nathan, 5, and Lydia, 3.

Jacobson was also attracted to St. Joseph’s because it is part of a larger system. "So many programs, such as HIPAA, have to be addressed in smaller facilities with few resources at the same level as in large facilities with many resources," he said. "At St. Joseph’s, our leaders can wear several hats successfully with the support provided by Catholic Health Initiatives."