DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Ralph Gabarro, president and CEO of Mayo Regional Hospital since 1997, has announced his intention to retire on Oct. 31, 2012.
The Hospital Administrative District 4 board of directors, which operates Mayo and its associated network of physician practices in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties, has begun a search process to select Gabarro’s successor. The board said it hopes to have a new president and CEO in place before Gabarro’s departure.
“The decision was not an easy one, as the past 14 years at Mayo have been among the most rewarding and meaningful ones of my 38-year career in health care,” said Gabarro. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with an excellent board, dedicated staff and collaborative medical staff.
“I turn 65 next October and it is time to let someone else lead the organization. My early notice ensures that the board can manage the search process and ensure a smooth leadership transition. I only hope the hospital today finds itself in some small ways in a stronger position, both operationally and culturally, than it was when I joined Mayo in 1997,” said Gabarro.
Under Gabarro’s leadership, Mayo Regional Hospital became the largest employer in Piscataquis County and now has nearly 400 full-time-equivalent positions and an annual budget of $45 million. Mayo this year was named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in America and ranked as one of the Top 5 Maine hospitals by the State Employee Health Commission.
“Ralph has been an outstanding leader for Mayo over the past 14 years,” said Gregory Bowler of Bradford, co-chairman of the HAD 4 board. “His dedication to supporting the mission of the hospital, its staff, and the community has resulted in Mayo being recognized for excellence by professional peers and by the patients we serve. He’ll be hard to replace.”
Mary Alyce Higgins, the board’s other co-chairman, added, “It is the board’s intention to involve a broad cross section of the hospital community in a meaningful way as we go about selecting our new president and CEO.”
Gabarro’s health care career began in 1974. Before coming to Dover-Foxcroft, he held senior leadership positions at Charter Brookside Behavioral Health System in Nashua, N.H., Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H., Mid-Maine Medical Center in Waterville, Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home in Greenville, and Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln.
He obtained a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Minnesota and did undergraduate work at Cornell University and San Jose State University.
A fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Gabarro is a member of the Maine Hospital Association board of directors and is a past board chairman. He is a state delegate for the American Hospital Association Region 1 Policy Board and served on the AHA’s Small and Rural Council.
Also active in the community, Gabarro is past president of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce, past trustee of Foxcroft Academy, member of Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis, member of the Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership and of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, and a corporator of Skowhegan Savings Bank.
At Mayo, Gabarro initiated a facility master planning process that resulted in construction of three new hospital wings from 2001-2003. He helped convert Mayo to Critical Access Hospital status, expanded the hospital’s regional network of physician practices and emergency medical services and introduced the use of patient, physician and employee satisfaction surveys. He was selected the state’s Business Leader of the Year in 2002 by Mainebiz magazine.