SVHC Trustees Select New CEO

For Immediate Release
4 November 2009
Media Contact: Kevin Robinson

BENNINGTON — The Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) Board of Trustees has named Thomas A. Dee as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the health system, which includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. The board made the announcement in a series of meetings today with doctors and employees. Dee, who most recently was president and CEO of Benedictine Hospital i

Newly appointed CEO of SVHC, Thomas Dee, will begin work Dec. 1.

n Kingston, N.Y., is expected to begin work on December 1.

“The board had a number of highly-qualified candidates for this position,” explained Dr. Michael Brady, the board’s vice-chair and head of the CEO search committee. Brady said that the search committee considered more than 300 candidates and eventually narrowed the list to six who were interviewed.

“Tom Dee has outstanding qualities as a leader, and he brings the depth and breadth of experience that SVHC needs to continue the work that our interim CEO, Dr. Mark Novotny, and our senior management team began earlier this year,” added Dr. Richard Guerrero, chair of the SVHC Board of Trustees.

While at Benedictine, Dee led the planning and implementation of a wide range of new services including a breast center, cardiac diagnostic testing, and primary care centers. During his tenure, Benedictine built a $12 million state-of-the-art cancer center and medical office building that included medical and radiation oncology, an inpatient hospice and palliative care unit, and a special cancer support house for family members. Dee also has a strong background in working collaboratively with hospital medical staff, including partnering with physicians to build free-standing health centers, a new outpatient imaging center, a surgical breast center, and numerous primary care centers.

Dee has more than 20 years of experience as a hospital CEO. At Benedictine Hospital, he engineered a $10 million financial turnaround and led the institution to profitability for 12 consecutive years. He was instrumental in working with the State of New York to consolidate the services of Benedictine and Kingston hospitals to save jobs and prevent destructive competition and redundant services. The consolidation model he helped lead was the first of its kind in New York.

“SVHC is an impressive health system, from the outstanding physicians who practice here to the quality of the nursing and support staff. Their expertise and dedication are manifest in the outstanding patient satisfaction evident throughout the hospital, nursing home, and across the SVHC system,” said Dee. “Dr. Novotny and his management team have made great strides in restoring the financial health of the hospital. There is still much to be done, and I am eager to begin the work.”

Dee holds a master’s in Healthcare Administration from Xavier University and has held leadership positions in a variety of professional organizations. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and has served as that organization’s representative in the Hudson Valley and Adirondack Region. He has served as chairman of the New York State Catholic Health Care Council, president of the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association, and as a board member of the Health Care Association of New York State. He also represented New York State on the Region 2 Regional Advisory Board of the American Hospital Association.

In addition to his professional accolades, Dee has been active in community boards, such as the Ulster County United Way board, Business Advisory Council of The State University of New York at New Paltz, and Ulster County Chamber of Commerce. He also was a guest host at WGHQ, Kingston’s community radio station. Dee’s wife, Rita, is an accomplished sculptor whose work has been exhibited across the country. They have been married 31 years and have five children.

Dee will take over a health system on its way to recovery since the organization experienced financial difficulties earlier this year. Last summer, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) projected a Fiscal 2009 year-end operating loss of $12 million. Hospital officials sharply reduced costs by downsizing management, reducing non-clinical staffing, trimming vacation time, eliminating travel and employee recognition events, and other actions. The cost-cutting measures reduced the projected year-end deficit to $7.5 million and have put the hospital on track for a modest profit in 2010.

“This is an exciting time to be working in healthcare in Vermont, which was recently named the healthiest state in country,” said Dee. “SVMC has played a big part in this by developing new strategies to treat chronic illness and reorganize health care. I am looking forward to becoming part of the leading-edge thinking for which SVMC is known.”

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is a not-for-profit health system serving Bennington and Windham Counties in Vermont, northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts, and eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties in New York. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, The Centers for Living & Rehabilitation, the VNA & Hospice of SVMC, and the SVMC Northshire and Deerfield Valley campuses as well as other medical practices. SVHC exists solely for the benefit of the communities it serves.