New London Hospital CEO plans to retire

  • Bruce King, the CEO of New London Hospital, has announced his plans to retire at the end of 2019. King has been a Dartmouth-Hitchcock employee since 1987. (Courtesy New London Hospital)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/4/2019 10:10:16 PM

NEW LONDON — Bruce King, the CEO of New London Hospital, has announced plans to retire at the end of the year.

King, a Dartmouth-Hitchcock employee, has led the 25-bed New London critical access hospital that employs about 600 people since 2003.

During his tenure, the 64-year-old King has overseen increasing collaboration between New London Hospital and the D-H system, including a formal affiliation in 2013. New London was the first community hospital to formally join the D-H system, which now includes five hospitals and the Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire, and is seeking to join forces with GraniteOne Health, the system that includes Catholic Medical Center in Manchester.

“The integration into the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health ... system, which (King) championed, will provide our communities with even greater access to high-quality care,” Doug Lyon, chairman of the New London Hospital board of trustees, said in a Tuesday news release announcing King’s pending retirement.

Lyon, the former treasurer at Colby-Sawyer College, credited King with improving the quality of care provided at New London Hospital and expanding the services available there by bringing specialists from D-H to New London Hospital and the organization’s Newport Health Center. He also credited King with overseeing new construction and renovation projects in New London and Newport. In addition, Lyon said King helped the hospital achieve greater financial stability in part through two capital campaigns.

“Bruce has been the widely recognized face of (New London Hospital) in our community and will leave very big shoes to fill,” said Lyon, chairman of the New London Zoning Board and a former selectman.

The time is right for him to step down, King said in a Tuesday phone interview, because many of his goals have been accomplished or are well underway. Like Lyon, King cited his work to integrate New London Hospital into the D-H system as one of the accomplishments he is most proud of. He also pointed to the hospital’s positive financial position.

“Our balance sheet is strong,” King said. The hospital also has plenty of cash on hand, he said.

Underway currently is the hospital’s conversion to the electronic health record system eD-H, which is software licensed from the health information technology company Epic Systems and used by several other organizations within the D-H system.

In addition, a senior living community in New London is slated to break ground this year on land next to New London, which shuttered its nursing home in 2016. King said he is one of about 100 people who have put their names on the list of prospective residents.

The senior living facility is “one of the things that I’ve been working on for 16 years,” he said, and seeing the project take shape has been ”very satisfying.”

The time is also right given the challenges facing all rural hospitals, including low unemployment and low Medicaid reimbursement.

It “sort of feels like ‘OK, it can only pretty much go downhill from here,’ ” King said.

He earned about $431,000 for his role leading the organization, which has an annual operating budget of about $65 million, in 2017, according to the nonprofit hospital’s most recent federal tax filing.

Prior to becoming CEO at New London Hospital, King held several other positions at D-H, including vice president of finance and vice president of contracting and network development. He first came to D-H in 1987.

He received a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in public health from Boston University.

King will continue to serve as CEO until his successor starts. A search committee comprising New London Hospital trustees and D-H officials aim to name the next CEO in the late fall.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.




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