Fort HealthCare’s Chief Executive Officer and President Mike Wallace has been named to the 2018 list of “50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know” by Becker’s Hospital Review. The list features some of the most impressive leaders dedicated to advancing health care in small towns and rural communities nationally.

Mike Wallace joined Fort HealthCare in 2006 and since then has implemented a vision to drive the community to be the healthiest in the state of Wisconsin. During his tenure, Jefferson County has moved from the 33rd spot out of 72 counties to 9th in 2017 on the University of Wisconsin Population Health Initiative rankings for overall health outcomes. The county also moved from 44th in health behaviors to No. 8 last year. Wallace has been instrumental in providing a culture of change within Fort HealthCare and creating partnerships within the service area to create healthier communities.

After being asked by Becker’s Hospital Review what is his favorite part about being a CEO in the healthcare industry? Wallace replied “I think short and sweet, articulating a vision and making it happen. I enjoy talking about things, organizing people and seeing it come to fruition a few years later. Taking concepts and making them a reality is something I enjoy. An example of a vision that has come to fruition is changing our mission. About eight years ago we changed our mission and vision to improve the health and wellbeing of our community and our vision was to become the healthiest community in Wisconsin. We organized ourselves in a way and held up our benchmark, and the work that we’ve done has moved us into the top 10 out of the 72 counties when we started out as 33rd. There’s a lot that’s gone into making it happen, but the main thing I enjoyed was keeping that vision and executing it”.

He also commented that he is very optimistic about the future of rural healthcare. “I think rural health is critical to the overall success of our healthcare delivery system. Simply stated, as you decrease access to care you increase cost of care. Rural health increases that access and can overall lower that cost. That upper respiratory infection that can be treated with a script of antibiotics, if you decrease access to that care, it becomes full-blown pneumonia, it becomes an ER visit with a $10,000 hospitalization and yeah, we saved the patient, but if they had better access to care or if we preserved rural healthcare we can mitigate some of those conditions with early detection, prevention and wellness. All roads can’t lead to the big city, certainly some roads need to lead there for tertiary care, but it’s in our interest to preserve and protect the rural healthcare system”.

Wallace has achieved Fellow status with the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is Board certified in HealthCare management. He is a two time winner of the ACHE Regents Award-Early Career Healthcare Executive (Arizona and Iowa), and is a past winner of the Iowa Hospital Association Young Executive Achievement Award. Mike is a member of the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Board of Directors. In 2014 Mike was recognized with the Light of Wellness Leadership Award by the Wellness Council of Wisconsin. He served on the Wisconsin Hospital Association Board of Directors from 2011 to 2017, serving as Board Chair in 2016. Mike is also a member of the Glacial Heritage Development Partnership, the Fort Atkinson Economic Development Commission, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative Board, and the Fort Atkinson Rotary Club.