New face of health

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dr. Mark Ciota has recently been named the CEO of both Mayo Clinic Healthy System facilities in Austin and Albert Lea. -- Eric Johnson/

Dr. Mark Ciota has very little down time, but that’s perfectly fine with him.

Between his time as CEO and orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, and some evenings spent as an Albert Lea School board member and ALHS team physician, there isn’t a lot of time for himself. But as of last Friday, he added CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin to his already packed schedule.

“It’s busy, but right now it’s controlled,” Ciota said, adding that one of his strengths is time management.

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The hospitals announced on Feb. 25 that Ciota, CEO in Albert Lea since 2004, would become the head of both hospitals. Austin’s former CEO, Dr. David Agerter, is now responsible for Mayo Clinic Health System’s southeast region, meaning Ciota and other CEOs in Owatonna, Faribault, Northfield, Cannon Falls and Wabasha all report to Agerter. While Agerter has had this position since the spring of 2011, it is now his sole responsibility.

Ciota has worked with Agerter for several years and said he is a great leader.

“I feel fortunate he’s going to be in charge of the region because he has a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge,” Ciota said. “He’s done great work in Austin and he’s going to do that for the region as well.”

Ciota said he will focus 60 percent of his time on the administration side and the other 40 percent to orthopedics, splitting his work in both locations. He admits he is taking on two full-time jobs, but welcomes the added responsibilities.

“To me, the excitement of it is the challenge,” he said. “These are two very similar organizations, but there are some differences, so we have to ask how can they be integrated so the end product is better than either one of them by themselves.”

Ciota said that end product — better patient care that costs no more or less, and patient satisfaction — can be accomplished by combining the two hospitals’ strengths and eliminating their weaknesses.

To accomplish this, Ciota said, during his first few months in Austin he will watch and learn.

“I want to learn about the people, how things are done,” he said. “I know how that’s done in Albert Lea, and hopefully we can pick the best of both worlds.”

Ciota said while the CEO position is the only one hospital officials have decided to merge, he didn’t rule out other mergers in the future.

“There are no plans to move other positions at this point, but as we move forward, we’re going to have to pick what we think the best path is,” he said.

Ciota said he is excited about what the future holds.

“There’s no reason Austin and Albert Lea can’t be the leaders in how we deliver medical care,” he said. “And there’s no reason we can’t be the best at it. I’m looking forward to trying to make that happen.”

Meet Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin’s new CEO: Dr. Mark Ciota

Name: Dr. Mark Ciota (pronounced show-tee)
• Orthopedic surgeon
• CEO at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea since 2004
• Started as CEO at Albert Lea and Austin hospitals on Friday. He will also continue to practice orthopedics
Other activities: Albert Lea School board member and Albert Lea High School team physician
Wife: Allison, Albert Lea High School dance team coach
Children: Alexandra, junior at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and Morgan, senior at Albert Lea High School