CEO of new hospital has varied experience

by Buckley Jensen

Lorin MacKay brings many years of richly diverse experience to his new role as the administrator and CEO of the new Blue Mountain Hospital in Blanding. The new hospital is scheduled to open in the coming months.

Born in Bountiful Utah, MacKay attended area schools and graduated from Weber State University with a B. S. Degree in Finance and Business Administration. He then earned a Master’s degree in Hospital and Health Care Administration from Ohio State University in Columbus. He is currently working on a dissertation for a PhD in Public Health through Walden University.

He and his wife Kayla are the parents of six children. Their oldest daughter is married and has a degree in Elementary Education. They have four sons living at home, but are all presently attending universities in the Salt Lake City – Ogden area. Their youngest daughter is 15 years old. Kayla is principal at Rolling Meadows Elementary School in West Valley City.

MacKay has purchased a home in Blanding, but since his wife and his sons must stay where they are, given their current commitments, Lorin says it may be a while before the family joins him in Blanding. He will commute back and forth weekly for the foreseeable future.

MacKay’s specialty has been taking over financially struggling hospitals and making them profitable. His range, and his depth of experience, are impressive.

After graduating from Ohio State, he was hired by a 300 bed hospital in Traverse City, MI. Simultaneously he was the CEO of a small 25 bed hospital in Kalkaska, MI.

Mount Vernon, WA was his next stop, where he was COO of the 100-bed Sedro Wooley Hospital.

His next challenge was five years in North Central Washington at a 50-bed hospital in the Okanogan Valley. He was particularly proud of that experience because the hospital had been in the red for almost a decade. Six months into his administration, MacKay had the operation in the black and kept it there.

His modis operendi is always the same: go in, get the ship afloat and move on to greener pastures. He did it over and over.

He was in Susanville, CA, another year in Salt Lake City, three years in Chateau, MT and then to Coeur d’Alene, ID, where he headed up assisted living homes. When he arrived in Idaho, Guardian Angel Homes had four units and were operating in the red. When MacKay left, they had 12 homes and their bottom line was solidly in the black.

While in Idaho, Kayla’s sister was in a terrible car crash that left her in a coma for five months. The family loved the Coeur d’Alene area but the injured sister required so much time that they decided to move home to Bountiful. They came to Utah from Idaho with no jobs.

Kayla got a job teaching school and Lorin got a job running two diagnostic imaging centers. The next two years he started two specialty hospitals in the Salt Lake Area which were created for long term acute-care cases – people who had to be in for at least 25 days. He and his associates would lease whole floors of large hospitals, set up their programs, and provide long term specialty care which was not available anywhere else.

Lorin’s last job before coming to Blanding was managing the Surgery Center for the Hoopes Vision group in Sandy. Hoopes is Utah’s top provider of lasik surgery.

“So Mr. MacKay”, this reporter asked at the end of the interview in Monticello “…what in heck made you leave the bright lights and the smog of the big city to come to the ‘ends of the earth?”

His reply was, “Well, you will notice that most of my career has been spent in small towns similar to Monticello and Blanding. I love all the outdoorsy activities available in San Juan County and frankly, I am tired of the big city rat-race.

“I have been a medical nomad for most of my career and I hope this time, with my family nearly raised, I can put down roots and stay for a while. I love this country. We have been to the Moab area many times over the years and am looking forward to getting to know San Juan County area. I would like to try to make a difference and perhaps solve some of the problems that have plagued this area and its health care for so many years.

“I think if the local people will be supportive, I can solve most of the money problems. Hospitals and medical care are basically the same anywhere you go. Most rural hospitals struggle because they do not have an administrator who really knows the system. I have seen it over and over and this area is not unique in that regard.”

As he bid me adieu, he looked to the east from my front porch in Monticello. It was a beautiful winter morning. The Lone Cone in Colorado, which is 100 miles away, looked like it was 100 feet away shimmering in the warm winter sun.

“This clean fresh air is a big reason why I want to live in San Juan,” he said as started the 345-mile trip home.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday