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Essentia Health announces new central region president

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An experienced Minnesota health care leader has been selected to serve as Essentia Health’s central region president in Brainerd.

Dr. Peter Person, CEO of Essentia Health, and Bill Potvin, chair of Essentia Health’s Central Region Board, announce that Adam C. Rees has been hired to lead Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd and 12 Essentia clinics in north-central Minnesota.

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Rees has 25 years of experience with the Mayo Clinic Health System and most recently served as chief administrative officer for Mayo Clinic Health System-Austin in Austin.

When he joins Essentia Health on Feb. 25, Rees will succeed Tom Prusak, who is retiring.

Rees was chosen by a search committee of community members, physicians and staff. Potvin, who served as chair of the search committee, said Rees has extensive experience in an integrated health system, a strong financial background and a proven commitment to building relationships with physicians, employees and the community.

“Adam understands where health care is headed in this country,” Potvin said. “His strong financial background will help us change our model of care as reimbursement changes.”

Potvin said Rees also has experience in engaging the community in improving residents’ health and well-being. Rees has been part of a three-year project that collaborates with local government, businesses and community organizations to help residents make healthier choices and connect them with community resources. It’s a comprehensive approach to patient- and family-centered care, which matches Essentia Health’s mission of making a healthy difference in the communities it serves.

Rees, 52, began working at the Mayo Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., in 1983 as a fellow in its management trainee program. He has held a number of positions within Mayo, including 14 years of senior leadership posts in its hospitals and clinics.

Rees earned both a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass. He and his wife, Rhoda, have two children. She is a nurse practitioner.

Prusak is retiring after a 37-year career in health care. He served the Brainerd community for 22 years, first as St. Joseph’s president and then as the central region’s president. St. Joseph’s and Brainerd Medical Center came together to form an integrated organization in 2007.

“As health care has changed, Tom has helped guide that change in the Brainerd lakes area,’’ said Person. “As the hospital’s president, Tom worked to create integrated health care by joining with local clinics and expanding local services, then led his organization in its successful integration with Essentia Health.”

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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