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You are here: Home  | About Us  | Chief Executive Officer 
Patrick J. Branco

My background is fairly unique in health care administration, in that I have not seen too many administrators with my broad background.

I started in healthcare 19 years old when I joined the Coast Guard. I went to school to become an Independent Duty Hospital Corpsman. My first duty station was Kodiak, Alaska. The administrator there insisted that each of us spend a month in each department of the hospital. It was the most incredible gift and my insatiable thirst for knowledge led me to take full advantage. I was determined to soak up every bit of information in every department. I did everything from housekeeping to pharmacy to dietary to surgery to nursing to ER and ambulance and purchasing and Labor and Delivery, and so on! I love the entire scope of medicine and all the interactions necessary to achieve great outcomes in care!

I joined the Navy after 4 years of Coast Guard time. I went aboard a ship as the senior medical department representative. For 3 years I was the face and hands of medicine aboard the ship of 450 men, often times hundreds or thousands of miles from higher levels of care.

Shortly after I earned my B.S. Degree from Southern Illinois University, the Navy commissioned me as Medical Service Corps officer (read that as "Administrator") in Newport, Rhode Island, from there, I was stationed at the Submarine Base in Connecticut, the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton, California, and finished my career at the Headquarters of First Army just outside of Washington, DC. During that time, I attended Baylor University for my Masters of Healthcare Administration degree.


I retired from the Navy in 1995 and returned home to Minnesota. I became the Administrative Director of the Outpatient Clinics at the University of Minnesota, with 17 clinics, and over 400 physicians. It was all specialty care medicine performed with world class physicians and rich with new residents learning their art.

I was then selected as the CEO of Divine Providence Hospital in Ivanhoe, Minnesota. The hospital was part of the Avera family of medicine out of Sioux Falls, SD with a 51 bed nursing home attached. It was a terrific place to learn.

In 2002, I got the opportunity to return to Alaska and my wife and I moved to Ketchikan where I spent the next 12 years as Regional CEO and Chief Mission Officer at Peace Health, Ketchikan Medical Center.

After that time, my wife and I headed south to be closer to our family and landed in Idaho where I ran two hospitals and eight clinics spread across an area the size of New Jersey!

I found the opportunity in Rugby to be more than a convenient path closer to our family it turns out that Rugby is an incredible place! Vicki and I have a very strong feeling that we have found home!

I have stories for every occasion and I love to tell them. My stories tend to center around a life of service to my communities and a love of medicine and my humble hope that I can make life better for each member of our staff, our community, and patients most especially!

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I continue to be thankful we have this facility in Rugby.
Kathy Axvig
Heart of America Medical Center      800 South Main Avenue      Rugby, ND 58368      Tel: 701.776.5261      Fax: 701.776.5448      TDD: 701.776.5043