Media Archive

New CEO named at EMMC

Article from Bangor Daily News, Friday, July 30, 2004

By Meg Haskell

BANGOR - Deborah Carey Johnson has been named the new President and Chief Executive Officer for Eastern Maine Medical Center. Johnson's acceptance of the top administrative position was announced to a gathering of hospital department heads Thursday morning by Norman A. Ledwin, CEO of EMMC's corporate parent, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems. In making the announcement, Ledwin cited Johnson's 30 years of service to the hospital, beginning as a registered nurse in the critical care unit in 1974 and working up through the administrative ranks. For the past six years, she has been a senior vice-president and the hospital's chief of operations.

As a result, Ledwin said, "[Johnson] understands the tremendous role that EMMC plays in the regional system we have built."

Johnson replaces Ledwin, who has headed the hospital as well as the parent corporation since the fall of 1993. Last January, at the annual meeting of the corporation, Ledwin announced he would leave the hospital position in order to devote his energies to the expanding health care system, which now includes seven community hospitals and a number of other medical concerns.

At an employee reception following Thursday's announcement, Ledwin described the search for his successor as "very fair and very competitive." Despite Johnson's good standing at the hospital, he said, she had to defend her bid for the executive office against 60 candidates from across the country. Against this roster of strong national candidates, Ledwin said, "It is a credit to her that she came out on top."

Ledwin said Johnson's clinical background, combined with a master's degree in business from Husson College and her long experience with the institution, makes her "invaluable in this organization as the centerpiece of the [EMHS] system."

Johnson said her overall goal at the helm of the hospital will be "to make EMMC the best place to give and receive care." Though her responsibilities have changed, she said, she will keep on with a number of initiatives currently in place, including the development of electronic medical records, efforts to improve communications between employees and a patient survey system aimed at improving satisfaction.

Though it's been years since she's worked at the bedside, Johnson said nurses at the hospital are "treated very well." She is not actively involved in current contract negotiations but maintained that nurses are valued and supported through appropriate nurse-to-patient staffing ratios and opportunities for professional growth.

The hospital CEO traditionally reports to the hospital's board of directors, but in a recent change in bylaws, the board handed oversight responsibility to the system CEO - currently Ledwin. While several EMMC board members did not support the loss of their authority, Jill McDonald, director of community relations, called the change "logical."

Because all EMHS subsidiary organizations have made similar changes in their bylaws, transferring the responsibility to hire, fire and supervise their CEOs to the system level promotes administrative consistency in the expanding system, McDonald said. EMMC board chair George Eaton could not be reached for comment.

Johnson is originally from Milo but currently lives with her family in Hampden. More about her appointment can be found on the EMMC Web site:

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.