10 to Watch: MeritCare’s Millirons poised to help mergerDennis Millirons’ resume shows a career built on change.
By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM
EDITOR’S NOTE: Through the end of the year, The Forum will feature a person we have deemed part of an elite “10 to Watch in 2010.” These are local people who, for a variety of reasons, are poised to be newsmakers in the coming year. Readers submitted their nominations, and Forum editors narrowed the list down to 10.
Dennis Millirons’ resume shows a career built on change.
It’s a pattern the new president of Fargo’s MeritCare Medical Center plans to continue.
The 58-year-old Oklahoma native took over the job in mid-November, straight from merging the Chicago-area hospital he ran with another health care system.
Millirons is one of three MeritCare system presidents for Sanford Health and MeritCare, but he may be the busiest in 2010.
Discussions are under way to determine how, and where, MeritCare will grow, he said.
The Roger Maris Cancer Center is congested and MeritCare’s trauma center is undersized for the 60,000 people a year it treats, Millirons said. Both areas need more space, though he won’t say if that will involve a new building or expansions at current sites.
Other areas being reviewed for growth or improvement are MeritCare Children’s Hospital, women’s health programs, and orthopedics and sports medicine, he said. Investments in the heart center will also continue, he said.
MeritCare will also soon begin a multi-year phase-in of a state-of-the-art medical software system, he said.
Millirons said he’s determined to get the best out of every place he’s worked.
“I consider it a sacred responsibility to lead an institution like this, quite frankly,” he said.
The fast pace of planning and decision-making is emblematic of Sanford, and it will be of MeritCare’s corporate culture, too, he said.
“MeritCare was a little more deliberate. That’s going to be a change that I think is going to be a benefit,” Millirons said.
He grew up in a farm and ranching family, and inherited his father’s and uncle’s wheat farms and cattle ranch in southwestern Oklahoma, he said.
He and his wife are selling their home in Chicago and will buy a house in Fargo. He has an adult daughter who lives and works in London. For now, he lives in an apartment near the hospital.
“We’ll see whether I deserve being watched or not,” Millirons said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583