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Published on October 16, 2017

Karmon Bjella to Retire from Medical Center in Alpena

Karmon Bjella, F.A.C.H.E., president, MidMichigan Medical Center –Alpena, has announced his decision to retire July 1, 2018.

Bjella has been with the Medical Center in Alpena as president since November 2007.

Before coming to MidMichigan he served as president and CEO of Unity Healthcare in Muscatine Iowa for 11 years, as well as vice president of Iowa Health System.

The MidMichigan Health Board of Directors will appoint a search committee to conduct a nationwide search to fill his position.

Under Bjella’s leadership as president, the Medical Center affiliated with MidMichigan Health in April 2016, changing its name from Alpena Regional Medical Center to MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena. The affiliation made the Medical Center in Alpena the second-largest subsidiary of MidMichigan.

Some of the partnership achievements since affiliating have included: clinical policy alignment; contract and integration savings; retirement plan transition; leadership programming development; employee health and wellness clinic expansion and student scholarship access. This partnership has also given MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena access to specialists in pharmacy, home health, facility management, finance, information technology and physician practice managements.

Alpena’s affiliation with MidMichigan has also recorded expense savings and assured consistent and strategically relevant capital reinvestment into the community. Examples of this include the replacement of the Medical Center’s Linear Accelerator, replacement of equipment in Alpena’s Cardiac Cath Lab and Imaging Department and the review of construction options for current facilities on the Medical Center’s campus. What’s more, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena most recently transitioned to Epic, MidMichigan’s new electronic medical record (EMR) system, in September 2017.

Additionally, in Bjella’s 10 years as president, the Medical Center underwent a $7.5 million renovation of the Emergency Department. The project was complete completed in Fall 2016 and now includes 20 private rooms and 21 beds after a 2,430 square foot expansion, as well as significant upgrades to the technology and medical equipment. The Medical Center has also received several honors under Bjella’s tenure including the Michigan Quality Improvement Organization (MPRO) 2017 Governor’s Award of Excellence, being named to Becker's Hospital Review 2017 list of 100 Great Community Hospitals and as one of 20 facilities in the U.S. to be named a Top Rural Community Hospital.

“Our organization has undergone so many positive changes in just a short time since affiliating with MidMichigan and it has inevitably strengthened our Medical Center and what we provide our patients,” said Bjella. “To make strides in program development, especially information technology such as Epic, requires a larger, more sophisticated organization to get the job done and to get the job done well. I am looking forward to my next chapter of retirement and am confident the Medical Center in Alpena will be successful and have a strong and healthy future.”

Bjella, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, with a master’s in health administration and he received his bachelor’s degree from Montana State University-Bozeman.