President and CEO Don Caruso, MD, MPH, and Cheshire Medical Center, a member of Dartmouth Health, were named as finalists for the American Hospital Association (AHA) Rural Hospital Leadership Team Award. The award recognizes small or rural hospital leaders who guide their hospital and community through change and innovation. Other finalists include Lesley Ogden, MD, CEO of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital and Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Oregon, for leading their rural hospitals through change and innovation. Top honors went to Bolivar General Hospital and CEO Ruby Kirby, RN, in Bolivar, Tenn.
Under Caruso's leadership, the hospital launched The Doorway at Cheshire Medical Center to facilitate treatment and make referrals for substance use disorder. Improving access to care included expansion of the Behavioral Health Consult Team in primary care, leading a new partnership among behavioral health treatment providers in the community to reduce barriers to mental healthcare, and integrating hospital and local public health efforts to prevent drug overdose deaths.
"I am honored AHA selected Cheshire as a finalist and extremely proud of the incredible work we've accomplished with The Doorway to improve access to both mental healthcare and services for people with substance use disorders," said Caruso. "The Doorway program has expanded treatment services resulting in a significant reduction in overdose deaths in the Monadnock Region."
Cheshire Medical Center is a non-profit rural community hospital serving more than 75,000 patients in southwestern New Hampshire and the only designated Medicare Dependent Hospital in the state. For over three decades, Caruso has dedicated himself to the care and well-being of Cheshire's staff, patients, and the greater Monadnock Region's community. During his tenure, Caruso has served in various roles at Cheshire, including chair of Family Medicine, associate medical director, then chief medical officer, and president and CEO for the past seven years. He will be retiring in May 2023.
"Under Dr. Caruso's leadership, Cheshire Medical Center has grown into a critically important hub for healthcare in a largely rural area of New Hampshire," said Joanne M. Conroy, MD, CEO and president of Dartmouth Health. "The Rural Hospital Leadership Team finalists and award winner were chosen for their outstanding leadership, responsiveness to their community's health needs and a collaborative process that has led to measurable outcomes. Don and his team at Cheshire have done just that - demonstrated a commitment to our system-wide exceptional, high-qualty care for patients and the community."
To contact The Doorway, call 211 anytime or visit 24 Railroad Street in Keene, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. For more information about The Doorway at Cheshire Medical Center, visit The Doorway web page.
About Cheshire Medical Center
Cheshire Medical Center (Cheshire) is a Dartmouth Health member providing the communities in the Greater Monadnock Region a continuum of care spanning primary care and specialty medicine, to surgical services and acute inpatient care. For more than 130 years, Cheshire has been a key contributor to the health and vitality of the Monadnock Region. As a not-for-profit community medical center, Cheshire is deeply committed to delivering excellent care in a safe and welcoming environment. Cheshire is dedicated to being a great neighbor and serves as an integral community resource. Cheshire is the area's largest healthcare provider and leading employer. Along with the services delivered on their Keene campus and satellite locations, the Medical Center partners with local organizations to provide vital services and programs throughout the region. To learn more, call 603-354-5400 or visit the Cheshire Medical Center website.
About Dartmouth Health
Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes its Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, including the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital and clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.