June 27--The Regions Hospital chief executive who oversaw two large construction projects on the St. Paul medical center's campus is retiring by year's end.
Brock Nelson will be succeeded by Megan Remark, who currently is an executive with Bloomington-based HealthPartners, the health insurance company and hospital operator that runs Regions.
Nelson oversaw the opening of an 11-story patient care tower in 2009 that included an expanding emergency room and 180 private patient rooms. The project carried a price tag of $179 million.
In 2012, Regions opened a new $36 million inpatient mental health facility, which includes 100 beds for patients.
"Brock has led Regions through an era of tremendous change, setting a clear, strategic vision that has produced tremendous growth and improved quality and experience for patients," said Mary Brainerd, the president and CEO of HealthPartners, in a statement Thursday. "Megan will continue that tradition."
Remark, 47, started working for HealthPartners in 1995, and currently is a member of the senior leadership team at Regions. For the past 10 years, she has led the specialty care division at the health system, including development of centers for specialty and cancer care.
Nelson started at Regions in 2003. Previously, he worked for nearly 20 years as CEO of Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
By the end of last year, Regions employed about 4,500 people. In 1994, HealthPartners assumed control of what had been a county hospital called St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center.
Regions and St. Joseph's Hospital are two large acute care hospitals located in downtown St. Paul. A third large medical center -- United Hospital -- is located nearby in the city's West Seventh neighborhood.
During Nelson's tenure, Regions saw growth in the share of east metro patients who receive care at the hospital. The growth has been attributed to an increase in health insurance policies sold by HealthPartners, plus growth in the health system's network of hospitals and clinics.
This year, Amery Regional Medical Center merged with HealthPartners. Between 2004 and 2011, HealthPartners absorbed hospitals and clinics in New Richmond, Hudson and Stillwater.
There's also been growth in the HealthPartners network of clinics in the east metro. In a 2012 interview, Nelson attributed the hospital's growth to improved medical services, saying that some east metro clinics weren't previously sending patients to Regions.
"We've changed, and by upgrading our level of service ... I believe all HealthPartners clinics are using Regions Hospital," Nelson said.
Christopher Snowbeck can be reached at 651-228-5479. Follow him at www.twitter.com/chrissnowbeck.
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