Richard A. Duvall speaks to the editorial board of the Watertown Daily Times at the Times office on Wednesday. Mr. Duvall, chief executive officer of Carthage Area Hospital, is taking on the same role at Ogdensburg's Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. He will manage both hospitals. Alec Johnson/ Watertown Daily Times

CARTHAGE — Carthage Area Hospital Chief Executive Officer Richard A. Duvall will soon assume the same position at Ogdensburg’s Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, serving in a dual role at both facilities.

Mr. Duvall will take over CEO responsibilities at Claxton-Hepburn in mid-October, replacing interim CEO Charles Gijanto, who is retiring after serving in the interim position since May 2018.

Mr. Duvall’s appointment has been approved by both the Claxton-Hepburn and Carthage Area’s boards of directors. The final approval is due to come next week from the North Star Health Alliance, the parent board of the affiliation between Claxton-Hepburn and River Hospital.

The appointment of Mr. Duvall to the Claxton-Hepburn position does not represent a merger or acquisition between the hospitals and both facilities will continue to operate under autonomous boards of directors.

Mr. Duvall has been with Carthage Area since 2008, serving in several leadership roles before being appointed CEO in 2014. In early 2017, under Mr. Duvall, Carthage Area reported that it had finished the previous year with a profit for the first time since 2009. The hospital is also in the midst of a $65 million project to replace its existing facility which will bring additional healthcare services and employees to Carthage.

The hospitals have worked closely together since the announcement of their affiliation with Crouse Health, Syracuse, in 2017 in an effort to enhance access to local health care. The hospitals, along with River Hospital, Alexandria Bay, then worked further with Crouse to establish Crouse North earlier this year.

Mr. Duvall said through these relationships, Carthage Area and Claxton have been looking at ways to more closely affiliate, with the main goal of creating efficiencies in the ways both provide care.

“We both have very similar cultures that I think will blend the two operations together nicely,” he said.

The hospitals are still in the process of identifying exactly what those efficiencies will be, a process that may take several months, but Mr. Duvall said there are no plans to eliminate any employees or services and the goal is to have no jobs lost, while potentially expanding services .

“Our goal is really to retain jobs, grow, and make both organizations as successful as possible,” he said.

The decision to name Mr. Duvall as CEO of both hospitals was not taken lightly, according to Carthage Area Board President Gary E. Rowe and Chet Truskowski, past chairman of Claxton-Hepburn’s board.

“We took this very seriously,” Mr. Truskowski said. “It’s been a process for both boards to get to the point where we can be better together than we are apart.”

“It’s a win for both hospitals, both communities. At the end of the day, it’s about the communities,” Mr. Rowe said.

Mr. Duvall’s compensation will be divided between the two hospitals, although the facilities declined to specify the amount. Mr. Duvall’s total compensation at Carthage Area in 2017, the last year for which publicly accessible information is available, was $360,177.

Claxton-Hepburn is a private, not-for-profit, 115-bed community hospital and regional referral center. Its inpatient services include intensive care, acute care, a birthing center and a mental health center. Carthage Area has been a not-for-profit rural community hospital since 1965. It operates as a fully accredited 25-bed Critical Access Hospital, as well as operating a network of community-based clinics.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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