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Greg Baxter named the next president of Elliot Health

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 31. 2018 10:48PM

Greg Baxter throws out the first pitch at a Fisher Cats game in July that kicked off the Corporate Challenge for this week's 35th annual Gail Singer Memorial Blood Drive. On Friday, Baxter was named president of Elliot Health System. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Dr. Greg Baxter, selected to lead the Elliot Health System as its next president after 15 years there, said he wants Elliot to attract more patients and do more to combat substance abuse.

“Our No. 1 priority is we have a vision to be your first choice to give and receive care,” Baxter said in an interview Friday. “Operational excellence is our No. 1 priority.”

Baxter, 49, who currently serves as chief medical officer and senior vice president of medical affairs, had shared co-executive duties for about eight months, a time for him to learn more about the organization.

“I think, for me, it was an opportunity to work with our leadership team, our staff and our board members, to understand: Is that a place that I would see myself comfortable and be able to lead effectively?” Baxter said. “That was a nice test of my abilities in that way and sort of aptitude. So yeah, I think it helped quite a bit, and I know I learned a lot during that process.”

That time, between May 2016 and January 2017, showed him the health system was more complex than he knew and that employees had great pride in their employer, he said. The health system employs 4,140 people in 11 communities, including 3,765 in Manchester.

Baxter, who starts his new post Tuesday, beat out 31 other applicants, including five others brought in for interviews before the nine-member search committee.
“He just couldn’t be any better for the job,” said Sherry Hausmann, president and CEO of SolutioNHealth, a regional health care organization that includes Elliot.

“He is a clinician and understands our business incredibly well,” said Hausmann, who was on the search committee. “He understands the market dynamics. He’s an incredible people person. He’s a wonderful communicator. He understands process, and he understands the business at the department level, which is where care is delivered.”

Baxter, who lives in Bedford, has been involved in discussions about the physical layout of the 296-bed Elliot Hospital.

A strategic plan is being developed by SolutioNHealth working with the boards of Elliot and Nashua-based Southern New Hampshire Health, the other member of SolutioNHealth.

Asked whether he thought Elliot Hospital needs to be renovated or replaced, Baxter said: “I don’t know if I would go so far as needed, but I would say definitely desired.”

Baxter has been with Elliot Health System since 2003, when he joined and led the emergency physician provider group. In 2008, he was named vice president of medical affairs in 2008, serving as a liaison to the medical staff, Elliot board of directors and management. In 2009, Baxter was appointed chief medical officer and has served in this leadership role for nine years.

While serving as chief medical officer, Baxter was also named Elliot’s senior vice president of medical affairs in 2011.

“When I came in ’03, there was never a trajectory where I said, ‘Someday I’ll be a hospital president,’” Baxter said. “But people have seen things in me and given me opportunities to move up.”

General News Manchester

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