Rutland hospital hires new CEO

RUTLAND — Rutland Regional Medical Center last week named Claudio D. Fort as its next president and CEO. 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.
“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 John Casella, chair of the RRMC board, which selected Fort unanimously. “We’re confident Claudio is that leader, today and for the future of Rutland Regional.”
Fort comes to RRMC, Vermont’s largest community hospital, 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.
Prior to joining NCHS, Fort was chief executive officer at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, Ill., 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 orthopedic 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, N.H., 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.
“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, 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-age children. Born and raised in Nashua, N.H., and an avid skier, both Fort and his wife Brenda are thrilled to be moving to the Rutland area and its many outdoor recreational opportunities, including the Killington Mountain Resort.

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