A ‘rural health hero’ at Cook HospitalHEALTH NOTES: Al Vogt, the top official at a small Northland hospital, was named “Rural Health Hero” at this week’s Minnesota Rural Health Conference.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
The top official at a small Northland hospital was named “Rural Health Hero” at this week’s Minnesota Rural Health Conference.
Al Vogt, chief executive officer of Cook Hospital, was described as “an entrepreneur and a collaborator extraordinaire” in a news release from the Minnesota Department of Health.
He received the award on Tuesday at the conference, which took place in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
The Glencoe, Minn., native has been with Cook Hospital a little more than 37 years and was promoted to CEO in 1989. He has become attached to the community, Vogt said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
“Cook just kind of grew on us,” Vogt said. “We raised our family here. We love the community. We got to know people as very good friends, and I want to take care of our friends.”
Vogt is 64 but hasn’t thought about retirement, he said, even though health care is a challenging field.
“I’ve got so many fantastic colleagues and people to work with, and I believe whatever we run into we’re going to be able to address,” Vogt said. “I told the group yesterday, everybody sitting in that room is the reason Minnesota is the healthiest state in the country.”
Vogt helped form the Minnesota Wilderness Health Care Coalition, a group of Northeastern Minnesota hospitals that have joined for innovations such as a telepharmacy service that brings after-hours service to member hospitals, the news release said. He’s also a founding member of SISU Medical Solutions, which brings information technology to rural hospitals and other health-care providers.
Cook Hospital and its attached nursing home serve a 2,500-square-mile region of Minnesota wilderness and recreational areas, the news release said.