RUTLAND—John Casella, chair of the board at Rutland Regional Medical Center, announced March 2 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.
Fort has been in executive healthcare leadership in both the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors for nearly 30 years.
“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.”
Fort comes to Rutland Regional from North Country Health System (NCHS) in Newport, Vt., 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.
Prior to joining NCHS, Fort was chief executive officer at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, Ill., where he led the hospital’s effort 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 and primary care at Inland Hospital in Waterville, Maine.
Born and raised in Nashua, Fort’s well-rounded education includes an M.B.A. from New Hampshire College in Manchester and a B.A. in economics
and history from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
“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 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, vice-president of clinical operations, to serve as interim CEO and president.