Dr. Robert Simpson to Step Down as President, CEO of Brattleboro Retreat

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — The Brattleboro Retreat’s board of trustees announced that Dr. Robert Simpson has decided not to renew his contract offer and will step down from his position as president and CEO on December 31.

“It has been a privilege to lead the transformation of the Brattleboro Retreat over the past eight years,” Simpson told the board. “I have focused on being a good steward in my efforts to put the Retreat in a position of real strength, and I have been inspired by the quality of the medical staff, the executive team, the board, and the nearly 900 employees whose courage and commitment mirror the courage of our patients.”

Between now and the end of the year, Simpson and the board will work to assure a smooth and successful leadership transition. A national search for Simpson’s replacement will be launched with the help of the healthcare recruitment firm Phillips, DiPisa & Associates.

“The Brattleboro Retreat has become a financially stable and dynamic organization under Dr. Simpson’s management,” said board chair Elizabeth Catlin. “He has touched so many people with his caring and inspirational leadership, and we are grateful to him for putting the hospital in a strong position to move forward.”

Catlin cited the Retreat’s recent reaccreditation by the Joint Commission as a strong indicator of the hospital’s ongoing success under the systems-improvement agreement established with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the end of 2014.

Simpson will accept an offer to become CEO of the World Purpose Forum effective Jan. 1, 2016. He will also join the organizational development firm Linkage Inc., as a consultant in its executive leadership and board practice to develop leadership teams and boards in more than 25 countries. He has also accepted an offer from the Brattleboro Retreat’s board to provide philanthropic consultation and assistance in an emeritus role beginning in January.

“At the state level, Rob has been a strong and visible advocate on mental-health and healthcare-reform issues,” said Bea Grause, president of the Vermont Assoc. of Hospitals and Health Systems. “Rob serves as vice-chair of the association, so we will miss his leadership and counsel as we continue to face many challenging issues.”

During Simpson’s tenure, the Retreat launched five successful specialty clinical services: the Uniformed Service Program, the LGBT Adult Inpatient Program, the Emerging Adult Inpatient Program, the Mind Body Pain Management Program, and the HUB Opiate Addiction Program. Simpson has also overseen the investment of approximately $21 million in facility upgrades and maintenance projects. In 2013, the Retreat launched Vermont Collaborative Care, an innovative partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont that integrates the management of mental health and traditional medical care, thus setting the stage for healthcare-reform initiatives. And in 2014, Simpson was chosen as a Behavioral Healthcare Champion by Behavioral Healthcare magazine, which cited his “unique brand of dedication, courage, inspiration, and excellence as a behavioral healthcare leader.”

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