By MICHELLE FIRESTONE
Chronicle Staff Writer
WILLIMANTIC â€” Hartford HealthCareâ€™s east region â€” which includes Windham Community Memorial Hospital â€” will soon have a new president.
It was one of several executive leadership changes announced Monday by HHC.
Donna Handley, who is currently vice president of operations at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, is replacing Bimal Patel as president of Hartford HealthCareâ€™s east region.
The region includes The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, as well as WCMH.
In a press release Monday, Hartford HealthCare officials said all of the executive leadership changes will take effect Oct. 1, the start of Hartford HealthCareâ€™s fiscal year.
â€śIâ€™m so excited about coming to Backus and Windham hospitals,â€ť Handley said Monday.
Windham Hospital joined the Hartford HealthCare network in 2009, while Backus joined the network in 2013.
Several service changes were made at Windham Hospital recently to address fiscal challenges.
In her current role, Handley partners with physician leaders at each of the five cancer centers within the Institute â€” Windham Hospital, Backus Hospital, Hartford Hospital, The Hospital of Central Connecticut and MidState Medical Center.
Prior to starting her current position, she served as vice president of cancer services at St. John Health in Detroit, according to HHC.
Handley said she has been working in health care for 37 years, starting as a nurse, and has been with HHC since 2009.
According to the press release, Handley played a key role in developing and implementing the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Instituteâ€™s relationship with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City through its charter membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance.
She said she aims to continue to expand services in the community, as well as seek opportunities to recruit additional staff.
Handley cited the importance of partnering with physicians and communities to make sure hospitals are providing the best care possible and a â€śseamless deliveryâ€ť of care.
â€śIâ€™m excited to expand my relationships over at Backus and Windham hospitals, but in the community as well,â€ť she said. â€śI feel fortunate to have the opportunity to come to Backus and Windham hospitals.â€ť
Hartford HealthCare officials said Handleyâ€™s replacement will be announced in the near future.
Meanwhile, Patel will succeed Stuart Markowitz as president of Hartford HealthCareâ€™s Hartford region, which includes Hartford Hospital.
Patel was named president of Hartford HealthCareâ€™s east region in December 2015.
â€śI am humbled by the confidence placed in me, aware of the large shoes I have to fill and mindful of the magnitude of this job,â€ť he wrote in a letter to colleagues Monday. â€śI will carry the many lessons learned at Backus and Windham Hospitals with me to my new role.â€ť
Hartford HealthCare Chief Executive Officer Elliot Joseph and Hartford HealthCare President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Flaks spoke about the leadership changes in a recent letter to staff.
â€śFour years ago, HHC created a regional structure and since then, we have been on a path to improve the quality and coordination of care our patients receive,â€ť the letter reads. â€śOur institute model, just an early idea at the time, is now a driver of care delivery, attracting world-class clinical leaders and expanding access to quality care.
â€śToday, more than ever, our regions are called upon to drive staff engagement and customer service, so Hartford HealthCare is the best place to work, practice and receive care. This requires greater partnerships with physicians, deeper integration with our institutes and unwavering attention to core facilities operations.â€ť
Other executive leadership changes announced Monday are:
â€˘ Gary Havican, who is currently the central regionâ€™s vice president of operations, will succeed Lucille Janatka as president of Hartford HealthCareâ€™s central region.
Janatka is retiring at the end of the calendar year and will mentor Havican for a few months.
â€˘ Janette Edwards, who is currently Hartford HealthCareâ€™s vice president for operational integration, will succeed Havican.
â€˘ John Rossi, director of Hartford HealthCareâ€™s office of project management, will succeed Edwards.
Markowitz will become Hartford HealthCareâ€™s senior vice president for strategic imaging services.