As Minden Medical Center searches for a new chief executive officer, interim CEO Stephen Selzer will make sure the transition in leadership is as seamless as possible.
In the meantime, it is his responsibility to make sure everything runs smoothly, he says. Taking the position following the retirement of longtime CEO George E. French III, Selzer says he will continue to support the leaders, staff and physicians of MMC so they can continue to receive the top awards and recognition for which they are known.
“In terms of the scores they have, in terms of the quality and satisfaction scores, it’s just phenomenal,” he said. “I want to make sure that I’m doing what I need to do to support the staff to continue those things.”
His philosophy of the healthcare industry is that it is a broad spectrum. He says he’s taken every opportunity possible to learn something he didn’t know about. For instance, at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas, a 760-bed teaching facility, he started a home health company, he said, building a statewide network in Kansas.
In Colorado, at Southwest Memorial, he says he took a public hospital and converted it into a private hospital. He is certified in long-term care, and has led a pediatric hospital as well as a brain injury post-acute care facility.
As an interim CEO, he says each hospital presents unique challenges.
“Even though the expectations and outcomes are the same, and the processes internally are similar,” he said. “What really makes them different is the human element. I heard about MMC at my first hospital and about George, so I knew that coming here, the challenge for me would be different from any of the other challenges I’ve had before.”
He says the greatest attribute of MMC is the people.
“They come to work with compassion and pride in their work that you don’t always see everywhere,” he said. “I’ve had experiences in hospitals that are new, but it will be centuries before they win an award. You come to Minden, and the original facility goes back to 1926, and they’re the ones winning the awards. You win awards not because of the building; you win awards because of the people. There is a sense of pride and workmanship – pride of who we are and pride of what we do.”
Selzer is originally from LaMarque, Texas, near Galveston, and graduated from high school in his hometown.
He served in the United States Air Force Reserves, went to college and received his degree in hospital administration. His first job as a CEO was when he was just 25 years old, he said.
“It was actually a great experience,” he said. “I’ve served as administrator, associate administrator, and I’ve really come to the conclusion that hospitals the size of MMC is really, in my opinion, the sweet spot of medicine. When you have a hospital like this, it has the ability to take care of 85 to 90 percent of what people will have. It’s not so large that you’re anonymous.”
One of the attractions for him that isn’t seen in other facilities, he says, is employment longevity – employees that have been with the hospital for 25 to 30 years.
“To me, it’s really the best of everything,” he said.
Selzer has been married for almost 42 years and has three grown children and two grandchildren.