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By Tracy Fairley
The Sullivan County Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce the return of Milan native Martha Gragg as Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Gragg initially served as CEO of SCMH from 1997 to 2007, after earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and serving as Director of Patient Care at SCMH. She later obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and brings to the role of Chief Executive Officer the highest levels of training and experience in conjunction with deep roots in the community.
During her initial tenure Ms. Gragg spearheaded evolutionary change at SCMH, including leading the conversion of the facility to Critical Assess Hospital status in 2000, recruiting Physicians and Nurse Practitioners, opening Clinic services in two additional locations in Sullivan County, and expanding specialty, outpatient, and cardiac/pulmonary rehabilitation services. She led the initiative for passage of a county-wide sales tax that doubled the tax support for the hospital and formed the SCMH Foundation to aid in fund raising to support the hospital, which has remained in place for two decades until this year, and recently passed again for another 10 years, with overwhelming support of local voters.
Ms. Gragg’s early understanding of the needs of residents, the staffing and facilities required to fill those needs and the financial burden of providing reliable, quality health care to the community led to changes that ongoingly support SCMH, and her intent is to continue and intensify those efforts. “I am honored and very happy to be back in one of the most rewarding positions I have ever had, where I am able to provide healthcare assistance to neighbors, friends and family when they need it most. It is critical that the hospital remains in service. It is a vital part of the community; we must take care of it and make sure it is there for future generations.”
Under her previous direction SCMH paid off all outstanding debt and obtained a low-interest loan for on-site expansion of the long-term care facility. She oversaw updates and expansions of multiple aspects of the hospital facility including equipment and improvements to the physical plant. The number of long-term beds increased, as did outpatient specialty services such as urology and obstetrics/gynecology, and cardiac rehab services. She initiated a Career Day introducing local high school students in six counties to possible careers in 13 health care professions, started a scholarship program for high school seniors and launched a Certified Nursing Assistant program that produced up to 10 CNAs annually.
In addition to her return as CEO of SCMH from 2011 to 2013, Martha has utilized her wealth of knowledge and skill in other administrative positions over the years. Most recently she served as Director of Provider Development, Business Development and Rural Health with Centene Corporation in St. Louis MO. Prior to that she was the Director of Regional Networks/Strategic Alliances for the MidAmerica Division of Hospital Corporation of America. As part of her strong desire to represent rural communities she became a charter Board member in 2000 and then served as Vice President for Programs with the Missouri Foundation for Health, where she led the grant and contract program and became involved with Nonprofit Services Center.
While Martha’s varied professional experiences away from Sullivan County have honed her vision and skill to oversee positive progress for SCMH, her ties to this community have never weakened. Whether fund-raising locally or testifying at the state level regarding health care in Sullivan County and surrounding areas, she is tireless in her determination that SCMH will provide quality health care for all. Her family in Sullivan County includes son, Tanner, daughter-in-law, Tammy and grandchildren, Christian and Keeley.