July 27, 2022 @ 12:00am

Black River Memorial Hospital CEO Carl Selvick

A Q&A with Carl Selvick

Just prior to taking over as the fifth CEO of Black River Memorial Hospital, Carl Selvick took some time to talk about his family business, the biggest challenge facing the hospital, and a particularly impactful patient interaction.

Momentum: What influenced you to choose a career in health care?

Carl Selvick: A lot of my family members are in health care, so it was either that or the family marine business. I’m a fourth-generation tugboat sailor. My family came to America in the engine rooms of ocean liners bringing people over (from Europe). We are a traditional working-class family, and we would work on tugboats. I have six cousins, and none of us wanted to take on the family business, but it served our family well for four generations.

M: You started out as a pharmacist. What prompted your move to the administrative side?

CS: There was a patient who really influenced me to move into leadership. I started a specialty pharmacy selling medicines for rare diseases that are hard to treat. I had a patient who had hepatitis C for 20-plus years. The cure had just come out, but it was completely unaffordable, $93,000, and this patient couldn’t afford it. The industry wasn’t there to support her, but the model we built was. We ended up finding a foundation that paid for the cost of her medication. Afterward, she called me up crying. She said, “I am cured. This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me in my life.” It really impacted me. People should have a right to good health care, and that was when my whole career changed. I knew I wanted to be more involved in leadership to build more of these types of services.

M: As you prepare to start in your new role at BRMH, what is the biggest challenge the hospital faces?

CS: The greatest challenge in health care right now is the workforce: workforce development, engagement, and retainment. The pandemic exacerbated the workforce challenges that our industry is facing, and we see a lot of clinicians and employees choosing to retire or choosing alternate careers. I come from an organization (Fort HealthCare in Fort Atkinson) that is an employer of choice, and I am committed to ensuring that Black River Memorial Hospital remains an employer of choice long into the future.

M: What is your primary objective for BRMH?

CS: I would like the hospital to remain independent because, from what I’ve seen in health care, is that if you’re affiliated or join another organization, you give up more than you get. And, really, what I’ve seen is that the best way to improve community health is to make sure those decisions come from and within the community.

M: Is there a strength of yours that is a particularly good fit for BRMH?

CS: I would say a strong skill I bring is my experiences in building new service lines and programs that are tailored to meet community health needs. I've been successful in my career by listening to the communities we serve and finding ways to meet the gaps in care that we've identified together. We try to always find a way that answers the question, "How do we build services in a sustainable way that increases the health and well-being of our community?"


Read the news release announcing Selvick’s hire.

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