Michigan Veterans Health System under new leadership

The D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette, one of two homes run by the Michigan Veterans Health System, will be under new leadership as of the end of March. Current MVHS CEO Brad Slagle is set to retire and will be replaced by Laurie McCullough-Benner, who has three decades of experience working in long-term care facilities. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE –Leadership at the Michigan Veterans Health System is on the verge of changing hands.

Laurie McCullough-Benner will replace Brad Slagle as CEO of the organization at the end of March, according to a Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs news release.

MVHS is an integrated health care system that provides residential, long-term health care to veterans of all eras through the two state homes for veterans — D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette and the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Slagle has been a familiar face for nearly 20 years at Jacobetti, serving as business manager and deputy administrator of the facility from 1999 to 2005 before becoming the administrator in 2005. He has been a licensed nursing home administrator since 2001, and is the past president of the National Association of State Veteran Homes.

During an announcement on Feb. 28, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Robert Redford said Slagle will be missed.

“Brad Slagle has been an invaluable leader and teammate at MVAA,” said Redford. “All of us are so fortunate to have had Brad on our team, and his knowledge and experience will be greatly missed. While bittersweet, his pending retirement is well-deserved, and we wish him and his family nothing but health and happiness in the future.”

His career at Jacobetti has been very enlightening over the years.

“I came to Jacobetti in 1999 as the business manager, not knowing a lot about the services and providing help to veterans. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience,” Slagle said. “I have been blessed to work with an incredible group of people at the Jacobetti home.”

Slagle said that over his tenure, the home has been able to apply for millions of dollars in federal grants and expand the quality of care for veterans in the Upper Peninsula.

Slagle’s replacement, McCullough-Benner of Jackson, is an experienced health care facility operator with demonstrated strength in providing excellent care, strategic planning, achieving financial outcomes, fostering positive working environments and engaging diverse workforces. She has had a lifelong interest in health care, and has served in her community from an early age. She began her professional career in health care in 1987 after earning a degree from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. She obtained her first nursing home administrator license in 1989, the press release states.

In her career, McCullough-Benner has managed and operated multi-facility organizations, and served as an administrator of both small and large sized long term care facilities. She comes to the MVHS after having served most recently as the district director of operations for Sava Senior Care, where she oversaw 10 care centers in southeast Michigan. McCullough-Benner is also an entrepreneur, having previously owned and operated her own book store and coffee shop in Allegan.

“We are delighted to welcome Laurie to our team and her continuing to lead the MVHS into a new era,” Redford said. “Laurie has a distinguished career spanning more than three decades working in long-term health care facilities, including success leading and managing teams throughout the Great Lakes region. She brings a fresh perspective to team veteran, and her experience and strategic thinking will assist us materially as we work to modernize the provision of health care services for Michigan’s veterans.”

McCullough-Benner said she is honored to have been chosen for the role.

“(I) am excited to work with the dedicated professionals at MVHS and in our veterans homes to guide the future of health care for Michigan’s veterans,” McCullough-Benner said. “Together we will work hard to provide great care, design care systems and establish environments that will meet the needs and exceed the expectations of our home’s members and their families for years to come. I look forward to us being the health care provider and employer of choice in the communities in which we serve.”