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Washington County Commissioners welcome new president and chief executive officer of Meritus Health

Joseph P. Ross promised his cooperation with the county

April 05, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • Joseph P. Ross, left, the new president and CEO of Meritus Health, shares a laugh with Washington County Commissioner John F. Barr during a reception Tuesday to welcome Ross to the county.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

In his second day on the job as the new president and chief executive officer of Meritus Health, Joseph P. Ross praised the local healthcare system's leadership and promised his cooperation with the county at a welcoming reception hosted by the Washington County Commissioners.

"I will pledge to you that I'm always available to you, and will work with you in any way I can to help serve the people of the region," Ross told the commissioners.

Ross, formerly president and CEO of Shore Health System of Maryland in Easton, was selected by a search committee to replace James P. Hamill, who is retiring.

Hamill said he plans to work through the end of this week to help with a strategic planning meeting scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Ross said when he got a call from the hospital's search committee in December, he wasn't looking for a job, but when he visited the new Meritus Medical Center building east of Hagerstown, he became excited about the chance to oversee it.

On his second interview, when he learned more about the organization within the building, Ross was even more impressed, he said.

"Washington (County) and Meritus Health System are months, if not years, ahead of the rest of us in the state of Maryland, and a long way ahead of most of the country, in terms of thinking about how to manage costs and how to achieve quality," he said.

Ross said he followed the long controversy that led up to the new medical center's construction and was glad that advocates of the Robinwood location prevailed.

"I think its an absolutely glorious location and can serve for 100 years and not get crowded out," he said.

Ross said he is living in a hotel near Valley Mall while looking for a home in the county and expects his wife to join him here in June.

Commissioner John F. Barr presented Ross and Hamill each with a county flag and pin, welcoming Ross and thanking Hamill for his years of service to the county.

"I think it's rather remarkable that Jim (Hamill) and his wife call Washington County home and plan to stay here," Barr said. "I think that's news for all of us, especially in light of the fact that your sons are, at this point in time, on the West Coast."

Hamill called his time with the health system "a remarkable 11 years" and thanked the commissioners for county support for the new hospital, with particular praise for county inspectors.

"It was just a remarkable thing that (inspectors) would solve problems, not just point out, 'You have this wrong,'" he said.

Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham told Ross he could expect a similar willingness to help from the county.

"Anything you need, don't hesitate to ask, because this group may not be able to get you all the way there, but we can certainly get you halfway," Callaham said.

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