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Hatiras takes over as president of Holyoke Medical Center

Date: 7/26/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

HOLYOKE – For Spiros Hatiras taking on the role as president and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) is retuning to his professional roots.

Hatiras will succeed Hank Porten who led the medical center for nearly 28 years. He will begin his administration on Sept. 3.

“We are absolutely delighted to bring such an accomplished and passionate leader to our hospital and community,” Priscilla Mandrachia, chairwoman of the board of directors of Valley Health Systems, the parent company of Holyoke Medical Center and its affiliates, said.

“The search committee, after an exhaustive process, was particularly impressed with Mr. Hatiras’ understanding of our culture and love of community health care. He has expertise in reform initiatives and a deep commitment to physicians, staff and quality services. Valley Health Systems and Holyoke Medical Center have been fortunate to have had the leadership of our present CEO, Hank Porten, for 28 years. We expect Mr. Hatiras to build on Mr. Porten’s accomplishments and lead our health care system successfully into the future,” she added.

The American College of Healthcare Executives certified Hatiras in health care management. He has a master’s degree in health care management from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the Athens Institute of Technology in Athens, Greece.

Hatiras currently serves as the chief operating officer at NIT Health in New York City specializing in the implementation of electronic medical records for hospitals and health care systems. He had been the president and CEO of Hoboken University Medical Center in Hoboken, N.J., and told Reminder Publications that he was missing hospital administration.

He said that he was looking for a community hospital in the Northeast that was between 150 to 300 beds in size, was financially stable and had a good physical plant.

“Holyoke [Medical Center] popped up,” he said.

He was impressed during his visits to HMC with the similarities with Hoboken University Medical Center. He said both have almost the same operating budget, serve an inner and diverse population in core communities of about 40,000 people. He added that both are “safety net hospitals.”

He said that Hoboken, like HMC, “also had a lot of competition from bigger players.”

Hatiras said that part of his efforts would be re-branding HMC to make sure people in the region realize its strengths. He noted that HMC has been assessed as number one in the Commonwealth for stroke care.

“These are important things. They are not abstract,” he said. He added his father died from the effects of the stroke and that if he had been in a hospital with greater proficiency in caring for stroke patients he might have lived longer.

Commenting on the additional changes coming to health care due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Hatiras said, “We all knew something had to be done in healthcare going down the path we were one.”

He cited the increasing costs of health care are an ongoing concern.

Although he readily acknowledged the complicated nature of the health care industry and how it will be affected by the legislation, he added, “a lot of what you see is politics.”

Hatiras said, “I am extremely excited to join Valley Health Systems and Holyoke Medical Center. It’s the best fit for both of us. I’m returning to do what I love the best, working in a community hospital and helping it succeed. And, the hospital’s commitment to community health is exactly what health care reform should be embracing. I look forward to working with the entire organization to build upon the solid foundation that Hank has left for us. The hospital is positioned well for the future. I'm ready to go.”