Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Gijanto to resign in June

Chuck Gijanto talks about his resignation from Baystate Franklin Medical Center to reporters on Tuesday in his office.
(Recorder/Paul Franz)

Chuck Gijanto talks about his resignation from Baystate Franklin Medical Center to reporters on Tuesday in his office. (Recorder/Paul Franz)

GREENFIELD — Charles “Chuck” Gijanto, who has led Baystate Franklin Medical Center since 2008, announced Tuesday he is voluntarily resigning from his post, effective June 28.

Gijanto, 56, said he feels comfortable leaving the hospital now, since a two-year contract dispute with the nurses has been settled and new operating rooms will soon be built. He plans to move back to his native state of New York and spend the summer mulling his future career options.

“As I look back to when I came here six years ago ... I got everything done that I really wanted to here,” said Gijanto, the hospital’s chief executive officer, who has also led Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware since 2011.

The Baystate Health system will soon begin its search for Gijanto’s successor, said Mark Keroack, the system’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. It’s unclear whether the person will still head up both hospitals, said Keroack, who is forming a group — made up of health system officials, hospital staff and members of the community — to help advise him on hiring decisions.

Still, he stressed that the person will need to establish strong local ties to Franklin County and have a daily presence here.

“I think that it would be very hard to not be part of the community and remain effective,” he said.

Gijanto, who has been involved with organizations like the Kiwanis Club of Greenfield and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, also wants his successor to have a strong presence here.

“It’s got to be somebody who understands community hospitals and understands community,” said Gijanto. “I’ve always felt very much at home here and I think whoever follows me really needs to have that same sense of connection.”

He also came to the job with a strong financial background, including four years as a chief financial officer at a New York hospital. Keroack said that Gijanto’s successor will need to be comfortable making financial decisions, although direct experience as a chief financial officer is not required.

Six years at Baystate Franklin

Baystate Health hired Gijanto in 2008 to succeed interim President Carl Fitch. The hospital’s previous president, Michael Skinner, had served in the post from 2001 until 2007.

From Gijanto’s very first week on the job — when the Massachusetts Department of Public Health arrived at the facility for an unannounced inspection — he’s had to navigate the hospital through financial challenges and health care reform.

For instance, the hospital’s dependence on Medicaid, the federally funded health program for the poor, meant that government cuts led to rounds of local layoffs over the years. The Greenfield hospital has leaned on its parent system, Baystate Health, for support.

Yet the relationship between the local hospital and its parent health system has concerned some residents, who expressed fear that medical services are slowly shifting to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Gijanto has repeatedly dismissed this claim and has said that the construction of new operating rooms, scheduled to be completed next year, will aid in attracting even more physicians to work for the hospital.

Months after he was hired, Gijanto wrote in a Recorder My Turn column that he was baffled why a prolonged contract dispute with the Massachusetts Nurses Association (which had stretched to nine months at that point) was taking so long to resolve.

But little more than three years later, in October 2011, the hospital and its nurses began negotiating a new contract that they were unable to settle until last month.

The 29-month standoff, which centered on a debate about overtime pay, included one 24-hour strike in fall 2012. A second strike, scheduled for Feb. 10, was called off when state legislators were able to bring the sides back to the negotiation table for a 11th-hour settlement.

Although Gijanto said he’s been considering resigning for the past few months, he said “there was no way I was going to leave this place without a contract in hand.”

Gijanto said he’ll be working with his staff over the next few months on his transition plan.

He said the hospital is committed to continuing its work on the county’s Opioid and Awareness Task Force. He’s currently co-chairing a subcommittee that is investigating health care-related issues and solutions.

He’s excited about a new program that the hospital has been rolling out that uses patient input and feedback to impact hospital decisions and unify staff.

You can reach Chris Shores at: cshores@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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