SVHC Board Appoints Mark Novotny, MD, Interim CEO

Harvey Yorke announces retirement

For Immediate Release
20 March 2009

BENNINGTON -- On March 19, the SVHC Board of Trustees announced it had appointed Mark Novotny, MD, as Interim Chief Executive Officer for the health system. The announcement came shortly after the board accepted the resignation of Harvey M. Yorke.

In an e-mail to staff, Yorke announced his resignation:

Last night [March 18], I advised the Board of Trustees of my plans to retire at this time from the CEO position at Southwestern Vermont Health Care. The prior year presented operating challenges that we had thought were addressed by appropriate changes in leadership, however last week we learned that some of the budgeting errors had also impacted this year’s budget.


To lead such challenges it is necessary for all involved to have strong confidence in leadership. My retirement will facilitate restoration of that confidence.

In informing SVHC employees of the change in leadership, Dr. Richard Guerrero, chair of the Board of Trustees said:

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees voted last evening to name Dr. Mark Novotny Interim CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care. Mark’s appointment comes at a time of challenge for our organization, and for health care organizations throughout the nation. Unique to SVHC however, is our fundamental and unwavering dedication to providing the best care possible to the communities we serve.


The board of trustees is confident in Dr. Novotny’s ability to lead our organization through the challenges ahead. The skill, compassion, and dedication that have made him such an outstanding physician leader will serve the system well as he takes on the role as our CEO.

After accepting the appointment and holding initial meetings with managers, Dr. Novotny sent a message to all SVHC staff saying:

I am humbled by the confidence of the Board of Trustees in appointing me Interim CEO of our health system. I am ready for the challenge.


As we embark on this, I want to emphasize two things that are very important to me:

  • First, how important it is to our culture and effectiveness as management to establish trust and effective communication;

  • We must get to the root of and fix the problems we have found.

As a physician, I see this as analogous to treating a patient. We have recognized that the patient needs treatment. The vital signs are abnormal. Now we must diagnose the problem, develop and implement a treatment plan, and monitor that plan. We will do this.

The community will continue to see the excellent care they are used to receiving. I am proud of the outstanding medical staff I have known for 27 years, and the excellent, caring staff that work with them. I know what they are capable of. Their work will be supported by the management team.

I want to thank Harvey for his 17 years of service to SVHC. He has been a strong leader both here and throughout the state. His influence on our vision of having the healthiest communities and the safest health care system is immeasurable. We are grateful to him for his steady leadership and willingness to be ahead of the curve on key issues like patient safety, public reporting, and transparency.


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