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Nuvance Leaders Discuss Details As Regional Health Systems Merge

Published: May 20, 2019 at 07:00 am

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A Newtown physician and top executive with Western Connecticut Health Network and a Westchester County-based leader of Health Quest are bringing their particular talents and expertise together following the merger of their respective organizations to create Nuvance (pronounced NEW-vance).

Dr John M. Murphy has become CEO of the new health system, and Robert Friedberg has been named its president. Previously, Dr Murphy served as president and CEO of WCHN, and Mr Friedberg was president and CEO of Health Quest.

In a recent interview with The Newtown Bee, the two executives said they believe their individual skill sets will not only best serve the new network, but will complement each other.

The recently joined and formerly abutting systems now encompass a network of healthcare delivery that includes seven hospitals — Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Northern Dutchess Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Putnam Hospital Center, Sharon Hospital, and Vassar Brothers Medical Center — along with a large network of primary care and specialty practices as well as multiple affiliated organizations.

Following the merger, which was officially completed in early April, Nuvance will offer the resources of more than 2,600 physicians and 12,000 employees who have the capacity to serve 1.5 million residents in dozens of communities straddling both sides of the Connecticut/New York border from Sharon to the Hudson Valley.

The name Nuvance Health, derived from a combination of the words “new” and “advance”, will begin revealing its new logo and branding in the coming weeks and months, according to a spokesperson. The new organization’s board of directors includes diverse and equitable volunteer community representation: eight members were nominated by Health Quest and eight were nominated by WCHN.

When asked about how each will contribute their best talents in these early weeks post-merger, Mr Friedberg said he will ensure the overall operations of Nuvance are “operating effectively and meeting the strategic objectives that we set out even before the merger, and to be sure all of those things come true operationally.”

As the adjoining of the two systems morphed from concept to reality, Mr Friedberg said he had a couple of specific goals among many.

“What we’re trying to accomplish first is making a great team — making sure everybody is aligned across the organization and being able to pursue the goals we’ve laid out,” he said. “Which is to be sure we’re pursuing quality first and foremost and then to begin looking at how we can improve the quality and care being provided to this larger community.”

As he considered the merger early on, Dr Murphy said several things immediately came to mind.

“As we built Nuvance from an idea to a reality, I think we want to offer each employee opportunities to grow into bigger positions, if they choose to,” he said. “With 12,000 jobs, I think we have the opportunity to offer meaningful job growth to virtually everyone as well as being [better positioned] to recruit in top talent.”

From a physician perspective alone, Dr Murphy said the chance to serve upwards of a million-and-a-half people is huge. And with such a broad contiguous market, he believes Nuvance patients will be able to access its resources across borders conveniently.

“And we think we can attract talent into the organization that will allow patients access to very sophisticated care close to home, instead of having to travel two-and-a-half hours to a remote hospital,” he said.

Dr Murphy said adopting sophisticated and advanced technology will also help Nuvance be successful in many domains. And with $2.5 billion in combined assets, he said Nuvance will hopefully be very attractive to the credit rating agencies, giving the system access to capital that will permit investments and acquisitions of equipment and technology collectively instead of individually.

Read the full feature in this week's print edition of The Newtown Bee - on local newsstands or subscribe by calling 203-426-3141 or by clicking HERE.

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