PLATTSBURGH — CVPH President and CEO Stephens Mundy will be retiring this summer after 16 years leading the Plattsburgh hospital.
Mundy, 60, has been serving as CEO of two hospitals in the University of Vermont Health Network: Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh and Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone.
"Do you wait until you are too old to do things?" he said in an interview Thursday with the Press-Republican.
"My mother-in-law is alive, my father is alive, my mother is alive, and I see them once a year. So I want to spend a little more time with family while I can and enjoy it."
Mundy came to Plattsburgh via West Virginia, where he was CEO at St. Joseph's Hospital in Parkersburg.
He was assistant administrator at Henrico Doctor's Hospital in Richmond, Va., from 1996 to 1999.
"This summer ... is the start of my next journey," he said in a message to CVPH Board members.
"I can only hope it is filled with amazing, loving people like the ones I have had the pleasure of working with these past 16 years.
"As I prepare for this transition, I look back with pride. We have accomplished so much over the past 16 years; lots of facility improvements, our Magnet Journey, a growing Family Medicine Residency and 100s of people getting advanced degrees," he said.
Businessman Herb Carpenter, who served on the Adirondack Regional Board of University of Vermont Health Network, has known all the Plattsburgh hospital CEOs for decades.
He called Mundy "a phenomenal leader," adding: "He has brought the Medical Center through some tough times."
"The community is different and better because of he and his wife (Leigh Mundy), and health care in the North Country is better."
CVPH has often been a sponsor of North Country Chamber of Commerce events, and Chamber President Garry Douglas said Mundy has been a "historic figure in the continuing story of North Country health care.
"He has navigated CVPH through an unprecedented period of change and necessary reorientation while bringing our area such advances as the new Family Medicine Residency and the recently expanded psychiatric program, all while positioning the hospitals in Malone, Elizabethtown and Ticonderoga for sustainability for years to come," Douglas said.
"On top of this, he and Leigh have been committed community leaders, most notably in the amazing restoration of the Strand Theater in downtown Plattsburgh, which is now a cultural centerpiece for the entire region."
OVERSEES 2 HOSPITALS
Mundy, who will step down at the end of June, was appointed CEO of Alice Hyde last October; he had served as interim CEO since May 2017, following the resignation of Doug DiVello.
Mundy was not given a pay hike as result of the reorganization at Alice Hyde, since he'd already had oversight of CVPH, with its 2,300 employees, and the Malone hospital, with 750 staff members, due to his role as president and CEO of Community Providers Inc., parent organization of both.
"It's really been a wonderful experience," he said.
"I've loved getting to know the people of Alice Hyde."
Focused on addressing the critical shortage of primary-care providers in the North Country, Mundy helped create the CVPH Family Medicine Residency, a press release from the hospital said.
Developed in conjunction with the University of Vermont Health Network and University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, the residency, in its third year, is fulfilling its mission to train family medicine physicians while improving access to primary care in the North Country.
“We’ve long suffered from a chronic lack of access to primary care in this community," Mundy said in the release.
"The residency was created, in part, because we know many physicians stay in the communities in which they trained.”
All four members of the first class of residents have expressed an interest in putting down roots in the region, the release said.
Mundy said one of the highlights of his career at CVPH has been dealing with the tremendously dedicated staff.
"Everybody comes to work wanting to do the absolute best for our patients," he said. "They work really hard at it.
"On those occasions where we fail, as human beings do sometimes, we acknowledge it, pick ourselves up and come in the next day prepared to do better."
"We've put in so many programs over the past 16 years that allow our employees to better themselves ... all kinds of educational programs.
"People don't do that because they have to; they do that because they want to be better. That is a highlight for me."
In 2013, Community Partners joined Fletcher Allen Partners, which also included Central Vermont Medical Center and Elizabethtown Community Hospital, to create the University of Vermont Health Network.
That's when CVPH's name changed to University of Vermont Health Network, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital.
"The network has grown from the original four hospitals to six hospitals, a home-health and hospice agency and a multi-specialty physician group, all working together to create a seamless, integrated health care system for the Champlain Valley," the release said.
Mundy has been very active in the Healthcare Association of New York, serving as its chair in 2016 — the first from Clinton, Essex or Franklin counties to do so.
He is on the boards of Champlain National Bank and the Development Corp. and is affiliated with the Iroquois Health Alliance, Adirondack Health Institute, Adirondack Medical Home, the Northern New York Hospital Association and the New York State Hospital Review and Planning Council, the Strand Theatre, American Heart Association and United Way of the Adirondacks.
Mundy said being part of the network has helped the hospital bring more services to the area.
"I look at our Family Medicine Residency, and that is here because of being in a network," he said.
"That was something we are able to do."
Improving mental-health services by adding more psychiatrists also was possible because of the network, Mundy said.
"Because of our affiliation, we've now got five psychiatrists and are recruiting three more. We hope by the end of the summer we will have eight. That's staggering," he said.
"We could never do something like that as a standalone organization."
Mundy said the identity of the hospital is as strong as ever in the community.
"If you walk around this town and ask anybody what CVPH is, they will tell you. It's a really strong identity," he said.
"And I think it is enhanced by our affiliation (with the network.)"
Financially, Mundy said CVPH has been able to maintain itself in the difficult environment of delivering health care.
"The cupboards are not bare, but they are not stocked," he said.
"If you look around New York state, about 40 percent of hospitals lose money... We vacillate between black and red. This year, it's really tight, but we're doing OK."
Mundy's vision and leadership has been instrumental in leading the two hospitals in the ever-changing health-care environment, CVPH Board of Directors Chairman Robert Smith said in the release.
“On behalf of the CVPH Board of Directors, I thank Stephens for his many contributions to the hospital and to this community," he said.
Deena McCullough, member and former president of the UVM Health Network Adirondack Regional Board, noted health-care delivery is changing dramatically, nationally and locally.
"I have enjoyed working directly with Stephens and have appreciated his leadership on several transformative projects," she said.
His vision for the Residency Program, Adirondack Region Medical Home Pilot and the affiliation with Vermont "have positioned this region strategically to be a health-care leader."
Like others, McCullough praised his community involvement.
"I sincerely mean it when I say his contributions beyond health care and into improving our community will make a difference for generations to come."
“Stephens has worked with our Alice Hyde leadership team to lay a strong foundation for us to continue to build upon as we work to not only survive, but thrive in this ever-evolving healthcare landscape," AHMC Board of Directors Chair Brian Monette said in a statement.
"He has led our efforts to leverage the strength of the UVM Health Network, adding valuable input and expertise to our facility," he said. "The Alice Hyde Board of Directors is grateful for Stephen’s guidance and vision, and we wish him well as he moves into this next chapter of his life and begins a new journey.”
Mundy added, “By leveraging the strength of the University of Vermont Health Network, we’re finding more and more opportunities to share resources and positively impact the quality of care provided to our patients."
The Boards of Directors of CVPH and Alice Hyde and the network leadership will meet to figure out plans for replacing Mundy before he leaves at the end of June.
"I am going to miss this a lot," he said.
"I will miss being able to do those little things, and I will miss our patients."
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