Vermont Business Magazine The state's second largest health care facility has selected an in-state candidate as its new leader. John Casella, Chair of the Board at Rutland Regional Medical Center, announced today the board’s unanimous selection of Claudio D Fort as the next president and CEO of Rutland Regional Medical Center, Vermont’s largest community hospital. Fort will succeed current President and CEO, Tom Huebner, who is retiring at the end of March after a 28-year tenure at the hospital. Fort has been in executive healthcare leadership in both the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors for nearly 30 years. Fort will take over this spring.
Fort comes to Rutland Regional from North Country Health System (NCHS) in Newport, where he served as CEO since 2008. NCHS is a private non-profit acute care, critical access hospital, and multi-specialty group with 47 providers, and a 23 bed nursing home. During his nine year tenure with NCHS, Fort strengthened the hospital’s balance sheet and oversaw strategic initiatives that positioned the organization for future operational success. His notable accomplishments include initiating a revised primary care medical practice operational model to improve access, efficiency, and financial performance and partnering with Northern Counties Federally Qualified Health Centers to establish the first dental clinic in the Orleans/Barton community. Under his leadership, North Country Hospital rose to be among the top performing and lowest cost hospitals in Vermont.
“Rutland Regional Medical Center’s culture – collaboration, innovation, and community health care excellence – thrives under a unique leadership style and a special type of leader,” said Casella. “We’re confident Claudio is that leader, today and for the future of Rutland Regional.”
Prior to joining NCHS, Fort was Chief Executive Officer at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, Illinois where he led the effort for the hospital to apply for critical access designation and developed a malpractice subsidy program for independent physicians. This effort facilitated the successful recruitment of several primary care physicians and an orthopaedic surgeon to the hospital.
In the earlier part of his career, he held healthcare administrator positions with North Country Associates and Vencor/Hillhaven, both long term care and skilled nursing facility operators, and served as Vice President of Continuing & Primary Care at Inland Hospital in Waterville, Maine. It was in his position at Inland Hospital that he first began his journey into hospital administration.
Fort earned his Master’s in Business Administration from New Hampshire College in Manchester, New Hampshire and received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and History from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire.
“I have known Claudio for the entire time he has been in Vermont and I believe he will be a great cultural fit for our organization,” said outgoing President and CEO Tom Huebner. “He is a warm, open, knowledgeable health care leader and I am confident that both the Rutland Regional Medical Center family and the greater Rutland community will enjoy working with him and getting to know him.”
Fort is looking forward to starting his new position this spring. In the meantime, the Rutland Regional Board has named Barbara Robinson, VP of Clinical Operations, to serve as interim CEO and President in the time period between Tom Huebner’s departure and Claudio Fort’s start date.
Fort is married with two college-aged children. As a fellow New Englander and avid skier, having been born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire, both he and his wife Brenda are thrilled to be moving to the Rutland area and its many outdoor recreational opportunities, including the Killington Mountain Resort.
RRMC employs 1,600; the UVM Medical Center in Burlington employs 7,500.
Rutland Regional Medical Center founded in 1896, boasts a medical staff of 256 physicians trained in 37 specialty areas. With a strong patient focus, consistent quality performance, nursing excellence, and award winning care, Rutland Regional remains dedicated to improving the health of families and individuals throughout Rutland County and beyond. Rutland Regional was honored as the “Best Regional Hospital” by U.S. News& World Report for 2017-2018, recognized as “high performing” in four procedures and conditions -Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Hip Replacement, and Knee Replacement. Recently recognized in US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Hospitals to receive common care, Rutland Regional was the first hospital in Vermont to receive both the Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence and Magnet Recognition® for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovation. In 2016 and 2017, Rutland Regional Medical Center was the recipient of Healthcare’s Most Wired® award for the exceptional way the hospital uses technology to build patient engagement. Rutland Regional has also been recognized by the Joint Commission as a Top Performer in Key Quality Measures, honored with an “A” grade by The Leapfrog Group in the fall 2016, spring of 2017, and fall of 2017, Hospital Safety Score and was named by Healthgrades among the top 10% in the Nation for Outstanding Patient Experience and Patient Safety in 2015. The hospital was also recognized for an eighth year (2011-2018) as a recipient of the Healthgrades 5-Star Recipient for Total Knee Replacement, a second year as a 5 Star Recipient for Gallbladder Removal Surgery (2017-2018), and our first year (2018) as 5 Star Recipient for Treatment of COPD. Additionally, Rutland Women’s Healthcare, a Department of Rutland Regional Medical Center was recently awarded a Safety Certification in Outpatient Practice Excellence (SCOPE) for Women’s Health Program certification. SCOPE is a safety focused program of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Rutland Women’s Healthcare is among the first ob-gyn offices in the country to be certified.
Source: RRMC 3.2.2018