Arrived recently from Silverton
By Paul Wahl
Wallowa County Chieftain
If you hear singing in the halls of Wallowa Memorial Hospital in the next weeks and months, it may be Dan Jessup.
He is the facility’s new chief financial officer. Jessup and his wife are life-long vocalists and look forward to being part of the music scene in Wallowa County.
Jessup took over his position with the hospital Oct. 2, having relocated here from Silverton, Ore., outside Salem.
He replaces Joe Wanner, who resigned in August to join the senior leadership team at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, Alaska. Wanner was hired in August 2013.
Jessup’s most recent position was with Silverton Health System, which operated a 48-bed acute care hospital. The facility recently became part of Legacy Health based in Portland.
“Legacy has a different business model that does not include the chief financial officer position at individual hospitals,” Jessup said.
He stayed through the transition and then pursued the opening in Enterprise.
The Jessups have two daughters who live in Portland and hoped to remain in the Northwest. Their visit in early August was their first time in the county.
“We once lived in Elko, Nev., and would meet our daughters for long weekends in Baker City,” Jessup said. “So that was my familiarity with this area.”
Jessup said he was “blown away” by how friendly people are and the abundant natural beauty in the area.
He has previously worked in similar positions for hospitals in Nevada, Colorado, California and Arizona.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M.
Jessup is responsible for the financial workings of the hospital, overseeing the billing, collecting and accounting areas as well as supply acquisitions and managing capital purchases.
He joins the hospitals administrative team, which also includes Chief Executive Officer Larry Davy and Chief Nursing officer Jenni Word.
Like much of the health care industry, Jessup said hospitals are in a period of flux, particularly where finances are concerned.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” he said. “It makes administration challenging but really interesting.”
Jessup has seen his share of changes in the hospital industry since his first position in 1988.
“Most of the advances are in technology,” he said. “A pacemaker used to be a three-day inpatient stay. Now it’s a morning appointment.”
He said hospital services have also morphed into better partner relationships with patients.
“Years back, we wouldn’t see patients until they came in with a problem,” he said. “Today, we work to help patients avoid having to come in at all. Not having to provide those acute services means lower costs.
Jessup said Oregon is ahead of much of the country in adapting to the new climate by creating a series of coordinated care organizations. It is a network of all types of health care providers who work together in communities to serve people who receive health care coverage under the Oregon Health Plan.
The program helps reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, which is a plus for hospitals.
“On the whole, hospitals recognize that financially they can’t go on the way they were, and this way is better for the patient,” he said.
When he’s not working, Jessup enjoys genealogy. They traveled to Quebec, Canada, this past summer to research his wife’s side of the family.
He was a member of the Salem Community Chorus and is a former board member of the Cortez High Desert Community Theatre in Cortez, Colo.