Cindy L. Russo, MS, RN, FACHE, of Cheshire, Connecticut, has accepted the position of president/chief administrative officer, Baystate Franklin Medical Center/Baystate Health Northern Region, effective Tuesday, May 31. Russo will replace Thomas Higgins, MD, who has served as interim president since June 2015.
A graduate of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, with a BS in Nursing, Russo received a Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Healthcare Administration from the Hartford Graduate Center. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Health Administration at Capella University, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Russo comes to Baystate Franklin from Central Region Hartford Healthcare, a fully integrated health care system which includes five acute care hospitals and various other patient care service offerings and settings. She joined Hartford Healthcare in 2001as director, Clinical Services for MidState Medical Center, a 144-bed community hospital including several ambulatory locations; was promoted to president/CEO MidState VNA & Hospice in 2005; and became vice president, Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer in 2007. In 2009 Russo was promoted to senior vice president, Operations at MidState Medical Center, With the system’s restructuring in 2013, she took on the title of vice president, Operation Central Region. In addition to her oversight of operations, Russo is regional executive for emergency services, surgical, gastroenterology, orthopedics neurosciences and behavioral health services, information services, facilities and support services.
Prior to joining Hartford Healthcare, Russo held the positions of Director of Internal Medicine and Urgent Care at Yale University Health Services and Health Plan in New Haven, CT and Director for Ambulatory Services and Acute Care at Masonic Geriatric HealthCare Center in Wallingford, Connecticut.
As Russo considered possible next career moves and what she would look for, she realized, “I did want to expand myself outside of the territory of Connecticut, with which I am very familiar; at the same time, I wanted to make sure I was moving to an organization with the kind of reputation and values I’ve been accustomed to at Hartford Healthcare. I certainly found that as I started to explore Baystate Health.”
Russo explained, “As I visited Springfield and Greenfield and met the folks there, the camaraderie I felt initially was so palpable. There is an obvious commitment and loyalty -- both from the individuals within the organization, and from the community members I met. Everyone I met is making sure that this entity flourishes and that it will be here to serve the healthcare needs of the people of the Baystate Franklin community.”
Russo and her husband Tom will be relocating to Franklin County. The Russo family also includes their son and daughter-in-law, John and Deanna Russo, and a daughter Tiffany, all of whom reside in Connecticut.
Russo looks forward to getting involved in some of the organizations in this area once she settles in. “I’m excited about coming and learning from everybody, and enjoying the time together, both within the work environment and out in the community, as well,” she concluded.
“Cindy comes to Baystate with over 20 years of health care leadership, building strong community partnerships and physician relationships and fostering the creation of a positive organizational culture,” said Nancy Shendell-Falik, RN, MA, president, Baystate Medical Center and senior vice president of Hospital Operations, Baystate Health. “I am thrilled to have Cindy as a partner in leading Baystate Franklin Medical Center and the Baystate Health Northern Region and supporting our health system’s strategic plan.”
Shendell-Falik added, “I would like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Higgins for his leadership at BFMC and the Northern Region this past year, in addition to his duties as chief medical officer. His support and partnership were instrumental to the completion of BFMC’s new surgical facility, which is scheduled to open in June and realize positive results in the areas of safety, quality, patient experience and financial performance.”
Effective May 31, Dr. Higgins’ role as chief medical officer will be expanded to include oversight at Baystate Noble Hospital, replacing Dr. Sarah Haessler who has been serving as interim chief medical officer since March.