Rebecca Arsenault, president and CEO of Franklin Community Health Network and Franklin Memorial Hospital for the past seven years, will retire on Feb. 29, the hospital said Friday.

Her departure comes as the hospital is poised to “craft a larger strategic vision in partnership with MaineHealth,” the state’s largest health care system, according to a news release from the hospital.

In her seven years at the hospital, Arsenault oversaw a number of changes, the biggest being its joining MaineHealth in October 2014.

The release said “now the work at FCHN is turning to crafting a larger strategic vision in partnership with MaineHealth, a process that will take years to fully implement.”

“It has been a wonderful experience leading this incredible team of professionals,” Arsenault said in the release. “But we are at a place of envisioning a new future for our organization. That work should be undertaken by a leader whose expected tenure extends beyond the time I’ve planned to retire. Therefore, this is both the right decision for FCHN and for me.”

She said that “continuity through this strategic visioning process will be very important. It wouldn’t be fair to the community, our patients or the wonderful people who work here for me to start down this path and then have my personal priorities interrupt that process.

“And I have to say, I’m very much looking forward to this next chapter,” she said in the release.

“Becky led us through a time of great challenge,” said Clint Boothby, chairman of the FCHN Board of Directors, in the release. “When it became apparent that we needed to partner with another organization, she led our board and the community through a thoughtful process that culminated in our joining an outstanding organization that shares our values of excellent patient care, a healthy community and fiscal responsibility.”

The release cites the hospital’s community health initiatives, such as programming aimed at tobacco cessation, recognition for the Martha B. Webber Breast Care Center and an “A” rating for hospital safety from The Leapfrog Group, which tracks hospital quality.

“This good work did not make FCHN immune from the mounting pressures that small, rural hospital networks have been experiencing in recent years, however,” the release said. “It became apparent that FCHN needed to partner with a larger organization if it was to continue to thrive.”

Arsenault oversaw the hospital’s “initial integration into the system, starting with operational issues such as IT infrastructure, employee benefits and purchasing,” the release said.

Bill Caron, president of MaineHealth, praised Arsenault for her “transformative” leadership at a time of change and challenge in the industry.

“When it came time to find a partner for FCHN, Becky engaged her organization and the community in a thoughtful and deliberate process,” Caron said. “Her professionalism and leadership played a crucial role in positioning FCHN for the future. We are all grateful for her contributions.”

Arsenault took over as president and CEO of Franklin Hospital in January 2009.

As the leader of FCHN, Arsenault brought focus to the organization’s role in the community and to improved quality, the release said.

Working through the Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County, Arsenault supported community health initiatives including programming aimed at tobacco cessation, cancer prevention, worksite wellness and several other priorities.

Boothby said the board discussed the process for selecting a new CEO and options for an interim leader. He said he expects the board will have an announcement within two weeks and a national search for a permanent leader will get underway after that.


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