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July 30, 2018

Saint Vincent CEO resigning

Jeffrey Welch is leaving his post as CEO of Saint Vincent Hospital after a 14-month tenure.
Photo/Courtesy Ava Jo Collins, the chief operating officer at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, will become its interim CEO.

Jeffrey Welch is departing Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham and other affiliates little more than one year after becoming CEO for parent company Tenet Healthcare's hospitals in Massachusetts and South Carolina.

Welch said Monday he will leave to oversee Tenet hospitals in the Miami area.

"It's exciting for me and my family," said Welch, who spent much of his career in Florida before coming to Massachusetts.

Saint Vincent's chief operating officer, Ava Jo Collins, has been named the interim CEO.

Welch was named the head of Dallas-based Tenet's Massachusetts operations in May 2017. He joined from Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Florida.

Welch has spent much of his career in his native New Jersey and in Florida. In New Jersey, he was the vice president of operations at Riverview Medical Center and assistant vice president of operations at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. In Florida, he was the CEO of Coral Gables Hospital, and the COO at Delray Medical Center before joining Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in 2015.

"Tenet's been a great company for me," Welch said.

In his new role, Welch will oversee five hospitals in the Miami area, which combined will roughly equal those he oversaw in Massachusetts: Coral Gables Hospital, Hialeah Hospital, North Shore Medical Center and Palmetto General Hospital.

Welch, who works out of Worcester, has overseen Saint Vincent Hospital, which has around 280 beds and nearly 2,500 employees; MetroWest Medical Center, which has acute care hospitals in Framingham and Natick; and affiliated outpatient health care facilities in Auburn, Framingham, Franklin, Milford, Northborough, Wayland and Worcester.

Welch was the CEO for Tenet in Massachusetts, as well as the CEO for Saint Vincent. MetroWest Medical Center has its own CEO, Jeffrey Liebman, who is remaining in his role overseeing the Natick and Framingham campuses.

He was also responsible for Tenet hospitals in South Carolina.

Welch said he plans to stay on the job for about another two weeks, and continue helping with the transition afterward. He said he also hoped to return to Worcester for the 125th anniversary celebration at Saint Vincent in September.

"I got to tell you, I will miss it tremendously," Welch said of his time in Worcester. "I love the people here, the employees, the physicians. I have had a great time and I've been humbled by the experience."

Tenet is a privately owned, for-profit entity, a rarity in Massachusetts health care. In the 2016 budget year, Saint Vincent tallied a $47.6-million profit, while MetroWest Medical Center ran a narrow $800,000 profit.

Welch is the second leader of a Worcester hospital to depart this year. Patrick Muldoon, the president of UMass Memorial Medical Center, left his position after more than four years at the end of January. He was replaced by Michael Gustafson, who joined from Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital in Boston.

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