TORRINGTON – Community Hospital in Torrington’s new CEO emphasized trust and a positive experience for patients and employees as part of his goals moving forward.
“We want to be our community’s trusted provider of choice, so they choose us over going out-of-state or out-of-town, and we want to deliver on an excellent experience for all of our customers, both internal and external … we want to have a great place to work, as well as a great place to receive care.”
Zach Miller, who has worked at the hospital in multiple leadership roles since 2015, and served as interim CEO after the departure of Shelby Olind earlier this year, officially took the reins at the beginning of May.
Miller came to Torrington from Sun City West, Ariz., where he worked at Banner Del E Webb Medical Center as a nursing director, according to a press release. Prior to his work with Banner, he held several positions in leadership and patient care at Abrazo Health in Arizona and Intermountain Healthcare in Utah.
A graduate of Weber State University with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, Miller also attained his master’s degree in health administration from the University of Phoenix.
A series of impactful, tragic events, as well as his uncle’s work as a nurse motivated Miller to pursue a career in healthcare.
“My uncle was a nurse, and so I kind of followed somewhat in his footsteps,” he said. “I wanted to go to nursing school for that purpose, and then it solidified my senior year of high school, actually his son passed away and … my best friend was killed in a drunk driving accident that same year … it was a trying year, but (I) got exposed to healthcare and the excellent things that people do. You just don’t realize how many small things that caregivers do each day that make an impact.”
In his current role, Miller said he enjoys interacting with the staff, providers and community on a daily basis, “we really want to listen to our community members to see what we can do to meet their needs.
“Probably the most fulfilling project we’ve done over the last year or two is the introduction of our Generations program,” he continued. “Generations consists of two parts, one is outpatient geriatric psychiatry or therapy … it’s a mental health program for older individuals. They can suffer from anything from depression, anxiety, but … oftentimes, just the things that come along with life changes, the death of a spouse – really helping them with some coping skills and the mechanisms to return to full-functioning.
“And it really marries up nicely with the second portion of the program, which is cardiopulmonary rehab. Patients with chronic pulmonary or cardiac disease often have associated depression, because they can’t walk as much as they used to, they can’t do the things that they want to do.”
Miller said the two aspects of the program complement one another to treat the patient as a whole and make them well.
“It’s just been really gratifying to see that program start, and as we’ve had a few patients graduate, we recently had one tell our therapist as he graduated, ‘You saved my life. Without this program, I wouldn’t be here today.’”
The local hospital also enjoys several benefits under the umbrella of Banner, Miller explained.
“Being part of that larger organization really gives us strength to weather storms that come our way (around 100 rural hospitals have closed in the last nine years),” he said. “But it also allows us access to capital to have state-of-the-art equipment, to have the latest protocols and to fund expansion.”
In addition, due to Banner’s ownership, the community does not pay taxes for the healthcare they receive, unlike most small towns in Wyoming, which use a mill levy.
Outside of work, Miller serves on the Goshen County School Board, Goshen County Economic Development Corporation, and the Perkins Advisory Committee for Eastern Wyoming College.
He and his wife, Jaclyn, have four children: Kaden, Landen, Teyah, and Jordy.
“Growing up in a small town, and then going to Phoenix, I never thought I would go back to a small town,” Miller said. “And then … Banner led me here, and we’ve loved Torrington, the community. We fit in very well – everybody’s pretty open and welcoming. The businesses in town all support each other, as my wife started her business adventure with AJ’s (Soda Shop), all of those things we’ve really enjoyed.
“I think related to my job here, in any area I’ve ever worked, we’ve had an extremely skilled group of providers that work really well together,” he added. “That’s been a real joy to work with them for the last three-and-a-half years.”