Timothy Jones, center, North Adams Regional Hospital's new president, was welcomed at a public reception in the hospital lobby last night.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The community welcomed new Northern Berkshire Healthcare President and CEO Timothy Jones at a reception on Wednesday night.
Dozens of local leaders, hospital employees and others met with Jones and his wife, Gina, at the informal gathering in the lobby of North Adams Regional Hospital.
Jones comes at critical time for the health-care system, which recently emerged from bankruptcy and completed consolidating and selling off a number of its subsidiaries.
Trustee William Frado Jr., a retired senior vice president of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, had steered NBH through its recently tricky financial waters as interim president.
Jones, who was hired in July, was chief operating officer and administrator at Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick and holds a master's degree in business education from the California State University. He has been transitioning into this new post over the past month.
He was able to speak briefly with iBerkshires in between greeting and meeting at the reception.
Question: Why is this type of hospital important?
Answer: For me, I think the community setting is where I want to be. My roots are in the clinical world, I'm a licensed radiation therapist by trade, I took care of cancer patients for 10 years. In a community setting, I think you can really have an impact both in creating healthier communities and being a vital part of the community and being an economic anchor for the community as well. That's really what holds the interest for me.
Jones makes a point.
A: What attracted you to the Berkshires or NARH in particular?
Q: This hospital in particular, in terms of scale and opportunity and where it needs to go from an operational standpoint, I think fits very closely with my most recent experience in the eastern part of the state. I think that's a great opportunity, talking about operations. Not only clinically am I embedded in hospitals, but I have extensive operational experience as well working in smaller organizations. You bet that you get to manage a lot of different areas so you get to understand that.
So, the scale of this is a great size. In terms of the opportunity to lead the organization from ... the president and CEO position, that is an honor — and a responsibility, that goes with it. We can have an impact. Where the organization has been, has been a very difficult time, but that also is an opportunity. ... My experience, from an operational standpoint, is helping organizations move forward that were broken or not working the way they should, that's what I like to do.
Q: Best thing about the Berkshires so far.
A: Without a doubt the people are really phenomenal. They are welcoming with open arms. Even people in the store, if you ask a question — 'You're new?' — and they want know who you are and they want to engage you right away. It's not a surprise but it is above and beyond what I thought it would be.
Q: What do you miss about the eastern end of the state?
A: Nothing (laughs), other than my kids who live there. I was born in Massachusetts but I grew up in Southern California and I moved here 20 years ago. Every time I move it's to a smaller and smaller community, so there must be a draw to that. I think for me it's that scale: you can actually have an impact, you can help an organization live their mission and their vision.
Q: What's your favorite thing so far in the Berkshires?
A: Is that a trick question? (laughs) I haven't really had an opportunity because we're still in transition, so weekends I go home and other weekends to Vermont. I really haven't had a chance to embed myself in the community. I certainly want to try the local pub for sure (he had just been talking with Colleen Taylor of Freight Yard Pub). I think there's plenty of opportunities to discover those things. I think there's so much for the local community to offer; it's amazing to me that there's so much to do. The fact that we have an airport, I thought, 'Really, we do?' You think of a smaller community as not having that type of resource. It's hard to say [my favorite thing], I don't have enough experience yet.
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