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Gijanto/My Turn: Six years very well spent

From the moment my wife and I first arrived in Franklin County, I had a strong sense of the community spirit here. And my impression only grew stronger as I met the people I would be working with at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, in the Baystate Medical Practices, at Baystate Health and in the communities we serve.

The past six years have been extraordinary for me and it’s all because of the people I have been privileged to get to know. So as I prepare to leave Friday, I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to all who have helped make my tenure at Baystate Franklin the highlight of my career.

No president can lead on his or her own and our leadership team at Baystate Franklin is second to none. This is an incredibly diverse group with enormous talent and they have kept the hospital and medical practices running smoothly through any number of ups and downs we have faced together.

For leaders to do what they do, it takes a staff whose personal commitment and expertise they can trust. One of the ways we build trust is through experience and Baystate Franklin certainly excels in that department, as so many of our employees, medical staff members and volunteers have been with us here for several years. At every celebration dinner, I have been impressed not only by people’s length of service, but by the continuing passion they bring to their work, and to the patients and families we care for.

Ours is a hospital and medical community firmly rooted in the culture of Franklin County and proud to be so. That culture includes deep connections to each other and to the history of our communities, compassion, independence and a can-do approach to tackling whatever challenge may come our way. I feel so fortunate to have been welcomed right from the start and thank everyone on the team for creating such a warm and caring health-care environment.

Without the support of its community, no hospital or medical community can thrive. And our support has been tremendous! When I first arrived, the Second Century projects had just been completed, including major renovations of the Emergency Room, Radiology, the Medical-Surgical units and Intensive Care Unit. I quickly got to know the community leaders of the campaign which had made these projects possible. And I soon got to know still others whose continuing support of the hospital has been outstanding.

Community support is expressed in many ways. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a challenge we need to tackle together — as we have experienced most recently through our work with the Franklin County Opioid Awareness Task Force. The problem of addiction is more complex than any one of our organizations could address on its own. Thanks to the vision and steadfastness of our area law enforcement and political leadership, we are now all working together on this one shared goal — and in the process are learning so much more about each other’s strengths and about the needs of our neighbors whose families are affected by this widespread crisis.

Looking ahead, providing all goes well with the necessary state approvals, Baystate Franklin will likely begin its Surgery Modernization Project in late summer or early fall. This is the most major construction project the hospital has undertaken since the spokes were built in the ’60s and I am grateful to everyone who has brought it to this point — from the surgery and engineering staff at BFMC to the Baystate Health facilities team, planners, government relations leadership, countless other staff members, architects and engineers. Though I will not be here to see the first shovel go into the ground, I plan to be back for the ribbon cutting in 2016 to celebrate along with the rest of you. Again, we will be looking to our community for support of this project, and I am very grateful to those who have already stepped up to express interest in helping to make it happen.

Baystate Franklin Medical Center and the Baystate Medical Practices in our region are overall in very good shape right now — with quality measures and patient satisfaction both scoring high; several new physicians joining our team this summer and recruitment underway to bring in still more; a big construction project on the horizon; and our employee-driven SPIRIT program — designed to address patients’ experience of their time with us — now well launched. Of all the projects we have accomplished together over the past six years, this is the one of which I am most proud, for it stands for the best we have to offer each other at this hospital and in this community: Service, Passion, Integrity, Respect, Investment and Teamwork.

Thank you to all for letting me be part of this journey over the past six years; and for hanging in there through difficult times as well as through our moments of celebration. It has been my honor to serve our patients and community, and to do so in partnership with such a magnificent team. I will miss you!

Chuck Gijanto is president of Baystate Franklin Medical Center. His last day will be Friday.

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