New Wellmont CEO brings medical experience to leadership role

from staff reports

  KINGSPORT -- The future of Wellmont Health System will be in new hands this November as Dr. Richard Salluzzo becomes chief executive officer and president of five hospital facilities located in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
  Salluzo, a board-certified physician and veteran healthcare executive, has been selected to succeed Eddie George, current CEO and president.
  After serving 15 years in the medical management field, his role as CEO will be based on his experience. Salluzzo's goals are to make the hospitals the ideal health care facilities. Making Wellmont solid financially, providing excellent clinical care and satisfied physicians and board members are of top priority.
  Salluzzo presently serves as CEO and chief medical officer of Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, Pa., and he plans to use his experience to build a sound health care system.
  "I believe in the potential people have to contribute," said Salluzzo as he described building on the partnerships between the board members, physicians, and staff.
  "Rich Salluzzo is a dynamic leader, a brilliant physician and the absolute best choice to lead our organization into the future," said Ron Prewitt, chairman of the Wellmont board of directors. "He brings a wealth of skills to our health system, including a proven record of strong physician and employee relations, a successful strategy for new business development and an impressive history of community involvement."
  A search committee of the Wellmont board of directors unanimously selected Salluzzo following a nationwide search that began when George announced his intention to retire at the end of the year. The search committee interviewed multiple finalists, Prewitt said, but Salluzzo quickly rose to the top of the list.
  "First of all, Rich comes from an organization that is very similar to ours," Prewitt said. "The Conemaugh system, with 800 beds and 4,000 employees, is the largest and most comprehensive healthcare organization in west-central Pennsylvania. It has multiple hospitals, including a 500-bed tertiary hospital, as well as a sizable physician-hospital organization and numerous related businesses. So, he clearly has the experience necessary to manage the complexity of an organization as large and diverse as Wellmont.
   "Secondly, the members of our search committee were incredibly impressed by Rich's credentials. At Conemaugh, he has not only managed a growing, successful health system but has also continued to periodically treat patients in the hospital emergency room.
  "That remarkable combination of executive leadership and hands-on medical experience makes him an attractive fit for our organization."
  Salluzzo has served as Conemaugh's CEO and CMO since 1999. Prior to being named CEO, he was the organization's CMO for a year. During his tenure at Conemaugh, he has overseen efforts that have expanded the system's service lines and quality, dramatically improved patient and employee satisfaction and returned the organization to profitability.
  Twice during his tenure as CEO, Conemaugh's Memorial Medical Center has been named a Top 100 Heart Hospital and a Top 100 Orthopedic Hospital. Additionally, one of the system's hospitals is a member of Planetree, the patient-centered healing organization in which Wellmont also participates.
  Salluzzo is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts. He received his medical degree from Boston's Tufts University School of Medicine and earned a master's degree in business administration from the acclaimed Katz School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.
  Before joining Conemaugh in 1998, he served as president and CEO of the 400-member faculty practice at Albany Medical Center in New York. He previously worked as chairman of and a professor in the department of emergency medicine at Albany College Medical University.
  Salluzzo is board certified in internal medicine and emergency medicine. He is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and a member of the American College of Physician Executives and the American Medical Association. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers and abstracts and is the author of a management textbook for emergency medicine.
  Salluzzo and his wife, Nancy, a psychiatric nurse, have three daughters and two grandchildren. He is an avid sports fan and particularly enjoys NASCAR.