Sunday, November 13, 2011

Who Will Replace Joe Roach?

Joe Roach, we hardly knew ye. Where did you come from to start with? Here's a few lines written about the Eliza Coffee CEO when he left his last position--after a 30 day notice:

Roach has been Memorial’s chief executive since 1993. He previously was CEO at Millinocket Regional Hospital in Maine for six years. Before that, he was the assistant administrator and chief financial officer for Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield, Maine, and budget director for Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. He has a master’s degree in business from Husson College and a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island. He earned a course certificate in systems management from Harvard University in 1992.

Province Healthcare bought Memorial in 2002. Roach oversaw the hospital’s transition from a not-for-profit medical center to a for-profit institution. Later that year, Memorial eliminated the equivalent of 96 full-time jobs, but Roach said its purchase by Province had made the hospital better because it was able to focus more on improving patient care. In an interview with the Martinsville Bulletin, he said that “every patient is a quasi-stockholder.” LifePoint acquired Memorial in 2005 as part of an acquisition of Province.

Also in 2002, The Harvest Foundation was established with more than $163 million in proceeds from the sale of Memorial Health Systems. The foundation invests those funds and uses the earnings to support health, education and community vitality initiatives in the Henry County-Martinsville area. In the 2008-09 fiscal year alone, Harvest awarded 31 grants totaling almost $9 million, according to its annual report.

As the hospital’s chief executive, Roach has served on Harvest’s board since 2002, said Allyson Rothrock, the foundation’s executive director. She called Roach “a very strong community leader.” “Joe never had a problem in making decisions,” Rothrock said. “He is a solid decision-maker. He always thought things through ... and made decisions based on what he thought was best for the entire community.”

“We’ll miss him,” added Paul Toms Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Hooker Furniture Corp. and chairman of Harvest’s board. Roach has represented Harvest on the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.’s (EDC) board for at least four years and had been chairman for the past three years. EDC President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Heath called him “a great ... chairman.” “He’s as firm of a believer as you could ever have” in the need for recruiting businesses and industries, Heath said, “and he’s let us (EDC staff) do our jobs” in ways they thought were appropriate. During his tenure at Memorial, Roach also has overseen expansions, such as the addition of an ambulatory surgery center in 2006

Thirty days notice? We may infer RegionalCare did not want Mr. Roach's notice. We may infer RegionalCare just wanted him gone. The why of the matter is not as easy to discern. RegionalCare and Roach didn't have the same vision for our new hospital? Does that mean Roach saw it as a boxing arena in which he could defeat those who dared oppose him?

No matter, the question now is who will replace him. RegionalCare recently purchased Essent Care, a three hospital conglomerate. According to press releases, there will be no organizational shake up at RC, leaving some extra Essent executives to look elsewhere or be placed within the RC system. Will one of these be coming here? Stay tuned...