The president and chief executive officer of Rutland Regional Medical Center, the state’s second-largest hospital and largest community hospital, will retire at the end of March.
Tom Huebner, who has been with the hospital for 27 years, announced his retirement to the hospital’s board of directors and staff on Wednesday morning, according to a statement from the hospital.
Huebner, 64, first joined Rutland Regional Medical Center in 1990 as vice president of corporate services. He became president and CEO in 1997.
In addition to his role at the hospital, he currently serves on the board of directors for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.
He also serves as the New England representative to the American Hospital Association, and he is the chair of the board of the Vermont Care Organization, the statewide health reform company that suspended many of its operations earlier this year.
“I just got to an age and a point that it felt like the right thing to do,” Huebner said in an interview. “I’ve been at the job for over 20 years. I have mixed feelings because I love my job; I love the organization I’ve worked for; and I’ll miss it a lot. But it felt like the right moment.”
Huebner said he is proud of the collegial environment he helped create in the hospital and the quality of services his employees provide.
“The thing I’m most proud of is the culture that we’ve created within the organization where staff feel really engaged in the care of patients,” Huebner said. “It sounds like a simple thing, but it’s very hard to accomplish, and we have wonderful, wonderful people working there.”
Huebner is the latest in a string of Vermont hospital CEOs who have retired in the past few years, including Judy Tarr Tartaglia of Central Vermont Medical Center and Melvyn Patashnick of Copley Hospital. Additionally, Lynn Boggs of Porter Medical Center and Joe Woodin of Gifford Medical Center left the state but did not retire.
Todd Moore, the CEO of OneCare Vermont, worked closely with Huebner on health care reform. OneCare is part of the Vermont Care Organization, where Huebner has been chair of the board since 2016.
“He’s going to be tough to replace because nobody was better at driving common ground among health care stakeholders than Tom Huebner,” Moore said. “He was always considered to be sort of a neutral, reasonable leader that everybody respected, and it is going to be tough.”
John Casella, the chair and CEO of Casella Waste Systems, is the chair of the Rutland Regional Medical Center Board. He said the board would create a search committee and launch a national search for Huebner’s replacement.
“Tom has been just an absolutely terrific leader for the hospital,” Casella said. “He’s brought great leadership, compassion to that job. Not only will he be missed by the hospital, but will be missed by the Rutland community as well.”
Huebner said he plans to stay in Rutland. His wife, Tricia Huebner, is a co-owner of Phoenix Books in downtown Rutland.