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Mayo Clinic's top two leaders in Wisconsin stepping down

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Tim Johnson
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LACROSSE, WIS. — Mayo Clinic announced Tuesday its top physician leader and top administrator in southwest Wisconsin are stepping down from their roles.

Dr. Tim Johnson, the regional vice president of Mayo Clinic Health System — Franciscan Healthcare, plans to leave the position he has held for almost eight years and focus solely on working with patients.

He plans to make the transition in September. Johnson has continued to see patients during his time as regional vice president, but this change will allow him to leave his administrative duties behind to concentrate just on medical care.

Joe Kruse, Johnson’s second-in-command, added to the statement that he also plans to retire at the end of 2018.

Kruse has worked for the health system for 34 years, the last five as administrative vice chairman.

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No successors have yet been named. Kruse said the plan is to first find a replacement for Johnson. The new regional vice president then will lead the search for Kruse’s successor.

"Without doubt, the hallmark achievement of this leadership team has been their commitment to protecting and enhancing a culture of genuine caring that permeates the Mayo practices across Southwest Wisconsin," Mayo Clinic Vice President Dr. Bobbie Gostout said in the announcement.

Johnson has led the Wisconsin system past many milestones during his tenure, the most recent being combining more than 200,000 patient records into a single upgraded computer system.

The switch to the system created by Verona, Wis.-based Epic Systems Corp. happened in June. About 8,400 Wisconsin employees were trained to use the new records system. Mayo Clinic in Rochester is scheduled to make the transition in May.

"I have been continually impressed with the positive spirit that exemplifies our organization and look forward to the year ahead as we work to optimize the power of the Epic electronic health record and expand our specialty practices," Johnson said in the announcement.

This comes soon after Dr. John Noseworthy’s own announcement he plans to retire as Mayo Clinic’s CEO and president at the end of 2018.

Kruse said he didn’t believe there was a direct connection between Noseworthy’s impending retirement and the Wisconsin changes.

"I think the main factor is that a bunch of us are close to the same age. … I think it is a sign of the times with us baby boomers," he said.

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The Mayo Clinic Health System sites in Wisconsin include La Crosse, Onalaska, Prairie du Chien and Sparta, among others.

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Joe Kruse

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