January 22, 2018 |
Scott Rathgaber Named New CEO of Gundersen Health System
July 29, 2015  | 
La Crosse, WI - As Gundersen Health System prepares to celebrate 125 years of clinical excellence in 2016, a new leader has been named to continue the organization’s tradition of world-class care for patients and the communities served.

Scott Rathgaber, MD, AGAF, is the new chief executive officer, as selected by Gundersen’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Rathgaber will begin his new role in September.

“I am humbled by this opportunity and excited to get to work, but most of all I am optimistic about the future of our organization,” Dr. Rathgaber says. “We will continue to lead clinical and business innovation, continuous quality and process improvement, community collaboration and exceptional education and research, all for the benefit of our patients and their families. Gundersen will remain a national leader in healthcare.”

Since 2012, Dr. Rathgaber, a native of Indiana, has served as medical vice president of Gundersen’s Hospital Operations, Neurosciences, General Surgery, Anesthesiology, Emergency Services, Occupational Health Services and Pharmacy.

Dr. Rathgaber has cared for patients in gastroenterology and hepatology at Gundersen since 1998. In addition to serving as section chief of Gundersen Gastroenterology from 2005 to 2011, Dr. Rathgaber served on the Gundersen Board of Governors from 2010 to 2012.

“We were fortunate to have an exceptionally qualified internal pool of candidates for the CEO position,” says Brad Sturm, chairman of the Gundersen Board of Trustees and chief executive officer of Coulee Bank in La Crosse. “Dr. Rathgaber’s clinical skill, business expertise and leadership experience will help him carry Gundersen’s organizational momentum forward and strengthen our commitment to best-serve our patients, their families and our community.”

Dr. Rathgaber says listening and learning will be a priority as he transitions to his new role.

“In addition to national recognition for our quality, patient experience and innovation, Gundersen has a growing presence in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota,” Dr. Rathgaber says. “Our staff is our best resource and they live our mission each day to provide care as if a patient were a loved one. In the months ahead I will visit each of our sites to meet staff and hear their ideas for even better patient care and to build upon the momentum we have as an organization.”

Dr. Rathgaber received his medical degree from the Indiana University Medical Center. He completed an Internal Medicine residency at the University of Minnesota before returning to the Indiana University Medical Center for a Gastroenterology fellowship.

Beyond his clinical work, Dr. Rathgaber is active in the community through the St. Clare Health Mission, La Crosse Community Theater and First Presbyterian Church. Dr. Rathgaber and his wife, Mary, live in La Crosse and have two children.

Dr. Rathgaber is the third Gundersen CEO since Gundersen Clinic and Lutheran Hospital merged in 1995.

The process of selecting the next Gundersen CEO began in January when Jeff Thompson, MD, announced he was stepping down after 14 years and more than 20 years in leadership for the organization.

“Dr. Rathgaber has a strong clinical record, a focus on the well-being of our patients and staff, and has had great success in the many areas he has led,” Dr. Thompson says. “He knows this is not a time to pause, but to push ahead and work with our communities to improve health and lower costs.” 

Dr. Thompson will remain with Gundersen to assist Dr. Rathgaber during a period of transition.

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