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By Staff | Nov 13, 2015


The Heart of America Medical Center is expecting a new captain soon.

Minnesota-native Patrick J. Branco will be HAMC’s new CEO starting Dec. 7. He will replace Jeff Lingerfelt, who resigned from the position in September.

“I rolled the dice and thought [Rugby] could be a place where I could make a difference,” Branco said.

Branco said the decision to move to Rugby was based partly on its location and climate, but also on a desire to stay close to his midwestern roots and develop rural medicine.

“I have no desire to be in an urban setting, 1000-bed hospital where one becomes anonymous,” Branco said.

Branco comes to Rugby from Idaho, where he was president of two critical access hospitals and eight clinics for the past two years. Prior to that he was the CEO of Ketchikan Medical Center in Ketchikan, Alaska. His first job as hospital CEO was in southwestern Minnesota, at a facility that was part of the Avera Health System.

Branco also served in the military for over 20 years, joining the U.S. Coast Guard out of high school. He later joined the Navy and served in several places, including two Army bases, three Coast Guard bases, a Marine Corps base, aboard the USS Kansas City and at the Submarine Base Hospital in Groton, Conn. After retiring from service, he took a job at a University of Minnesota outpatient clinic.

Branco said that when he starts in Rugby he intends to “help develop heroes from within.” He said he will also listen, and learn about what improvements may need to be made in the hospital.

Branco will come to Rugby with his wife, Vicki, who he married during his time with the Coast Guard. They have two grown sons, and they have grandchildren residing in Eau Claire, Wis.

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