At home in health


Erin Marietta had an epiphany of sorts at the Community Prayer Vigil in Madisonville last month.

The new administrator of CHI St. Joseph Health Madison Hospital said her praying over the hospital and health care workers was when she realized her she was exactly where she needed to be.

“That was a defining moment for me,” she said. “We had a small community with people from all different walks of life in one room, and it was very powerful.”

Marietta, assumed her leadership mantle June 4, originally hails from South Louisiana, and has been surrounded by those in the health care field, as her mother and grandmother were nurses.

“I was born and raised in a very rural Louisiana town, pretty much swamp adjacent, in a little town called Patterson,” Marietta said.

So now she is director of Operations for both Madison and Grimes county facilities.

“I’ve always wanted to be in health care, and I’ve been trying to position myself to get there,” Marietta said. “When the position opened up, I took it, and always knew that I would get back into an operational role. It’s been a calling for me.”

Prior to this, Marietta was in the marketing and communications office at the regional St. Joseph hospital, moving into that after serving as the chief operating officer for a technology-based economic development organization in Lafayette, La.

“I also was in the military, doing operations and communications in the Navy for seven years,” she said.

So when Marietta’s husband moved to Texas, she came, and fell in love with the area — the schools, the communities, the roads.

“I want to be in a place where the mission is to care for communities, one that has a strong value system,” she said. “The foundation of the CHI hospital system was built on helping communities get healthier. This is the best of both worlds for me: it’s rural health care, and on the operations side, I’m working with such great teams.”

Marietta said she will use her operations know-how and work with her teams to offer good health care, as well as help the hospital grow.

“Rural health care has greater challenges: in general, there’s issues such as retaining and recruiting physicians, and … it can be difficult to get specialty services into (small) communities,” she said.

Marietta said that Madison County is in a great position regarding health care.

“For starters, we have four full-time physicians here, and we accept everyone and all insurance providers,” she said. “We have Level 4-certified ER and trauma facilities, we have a helipad, EMS services — the community has a wealth of services.”

In her first few months, Marietta has been focusing on the people side of the business — who works here and what are their needs — and finding out who makes up the hospital’s patients and the community.

“I want to find out who we are as a hospital, because ultimately, we’re as strong as the community support we have,” she said. “We have a strong support system in our community, and I feel we can use that to really grow.

“We’ll do some strategic planning, including what services are needed,” Marietta said. “Ultimately, we’re going to activate a health care council to talk about long-term needs here.”

One of those needs includes telemedicine, which Marietta said she is passionate about.

“Just because people are in rural settings doesn’t mean they can’t have access to quality care,” she said.

Marietta said that in all, CHI will continue to grow in the area.

“I have a hidden passion for economic development, and the things that entice businesses and people to come to communities are schools, churches and health care,” she said. “Madison County really has what it needs.”