Dr. Kniffin sheds ‘interim’ title as head of Porter Medical Center
MIDDLEBURY — It was in March that Dr. Fred Kniffin agreed to assume what was then the unenviable hot seat as Porter Medical Center’s interim CEO. Porter employees and the greater community were up in arms about recent layoffs, financial problems, physician defections and the controversial tenure of Lynn Boggs, who had just resigned.
What a difference seven months can make.
Kniffin, during his brief stint as Porter’s top executive, has helped stop the proverbial bleeding at Porter medical Center. The organization recently won state approval for a very conservative fiscal year 2017 budget. Almost all of the empty doctor vacancies have been filled. Last week Porter officials confirmed a plan to affiliate with the University of Vermont Health Network (see related story).
And now Kniffin has agreed to take “interim” away from his title and remain PMC’s chief executive at least through next September.
“We are very proud of the leadership Dr. Kniffin has provided over the past six months,” Porter Medical Center Board Chair Maureen McLaughlin said in an Oct. 5 statement confirming Kniffin’s appointment. “As a long-term employee of Porter, he has demonstrated his commitment to this organization over the years. His never-ending allegiance to the mission of Porter makes him the right leader, at the right time.”
Kniffin, 55, joined the Porter Hospital staff in 1990. He has primarily worked as a physician in Porter’s Emergency Department and has also held the post of chief medical officer. He agreed in March to take what he believed was a one-year interim job as CEO, after which he planned to return to his job in the Emergency Department. But with the PMC board’s encouragement, Kniffin has agreed to extend his stay, in part, to see through some of the initiatives and repairs he has helped launch during his brief leadership stint.
“It is clear to me that this is the biggest honor I have received in my professional career,” Kniffin said during a phone interview on Friday.
“I don’t believe I’m done,” he added of his mission as CEO. “There’s more work to do … and we’re going to keep moving forward.”
He will work under a year-to-year contract as CEO. Kniffin still plans to return to the Emergency Department one day, and still regularly works shifts there in order to keep his skills sharp.
McLaughlin said she and her colleagues were very impressed by the resumé Kniffin had accumulated during his interim stewardship of PMC, and felt that he should continue in that capacity on a more formal and permanent basis.
“We believe strongly in what he has done for us,” she said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us and we felt that Fred was the right person to continue down this road in that role.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].