Change in CEO at WCCHS
Written by Alex Feig on December 6, 2019
DONALD T. EICHENAUER TO RETIRE AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF WYOMING COUNTY COMMUNITY HEALTH SYSTEM AND BE REPLACED BY JOSEPH L. McTERNAN
Warsaw, New York, December 5, 2019 – The Wyoming County Community Health System (WCCHS) Board of Managers last week announced the retirement of Donald T. Eichenauer as Chief Executive Officer and the appointment of Joseph L . McTernan to fill that role effective January 1, 2020.
Don has served as WCCHS CEO since March 2012 and had announced his planned retirement approximately one year ago. At that time, the Board embarked on a national search for a replacement.
Joe McTernan, a native of Rockland County New York, was selected to replace Eichenauer and joined WCCHS on August 1, 2019 as Senior Executive Officer. Over the past four months, Joe has been working closely with Don, the Board, and the WCCHS management team to assure a smooth transition.
Joe began his career as a paramedic in New York City. He subsequently moved into hospital administration, including roles in process improvement and internal consulting at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He worked there for more than 12 years before moving to Trinitas Medical Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey as Vice President of Special Operations. Trinitas is a 551-bed hospital with a 120-bed long term care facility. In his role at Trinitas, Joe oversaw numerous operational and clinical departments. Joe and his family have relocated to the area.
Board President, Rich Kosmerl commented, “We are delighted to have Joe join our team in Wyoming County. His early experience as an EMT and paramedic gives him a natural empathy with our county wide volunteer fire department and emergency medical service teams. In just the four months since joining WCCHS, he has demonstrated the skills and knowledge we found him to have during our interview process. He is very familiar with the requirements of New York State Department of Health and has already shown excellent financial skills and leadership in identifying potential future revenue increases and quality and cost improvements. It is good to know we have an experienced and accomplished health care leader in charge of the Health System. As we maintain and expand our services, his experience will play a significant role in continuing our success.
Joe stated, “I am proud to be joining such an incredible organization. The commitment to care for the community is impressive. I look forward to continuing the quality work that Don and the team has instituted.”
At the December 3rd board meeting, Rich thanked Don for his dedication, service and success while serving as CEO of the Hospital and Health System. Rich recited several historical facts associated with Don’s accomplishments. When Don joined the Health System in 2012, it was facing serious financial and operational challenges and discussions were being held as to whether it could remain open. Since that time, the Health System has addressed its financial issues and significantly expanded its services while growing revenue from $49 million to $65 million in 2019. During Don’s tenure at WCCHS the facility also completed a $33 million expansion and modernization plan of the Hospital and attached skilled nursing facility. In addition, several quality measures at the hospital were below average. In 2012, WCCHS ranked last out of over 15 hospitals in the Buffalo/Western New York region in terms of post-surgical infection rates. As of last year, we had improved dramatically moving up to second best, just behind first place. The County was also facing a critical physician shortage with half of the primary care physicians expected to retire and with a general shortage of medical specialty services. Don implemented a broad recruiting strategy that has brought in four new primary care physicians, deployed at sites throughout the County as well as in the hospital, with more on the way. He has also greatly expanded the specialty provider network adding five Orthopedic Surgeons in a new $1.3 million orthopaedic specialty clinic, and added Neurology, OB/GYN, ENT, and other specialty doctors serving at the hospital. Don will spend some additional months as a contracted consultant to the Health System Board of Managers working on specific projects. But as this transition is made, we wish Don the best as he heads into retirement and moves on to his new adventures in life.