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It’s about people, outgoing Mercy CEO says

Brandon Mencini’s last day will be July 1
Mercy Hospital CEO Brandon Mencini will begin a new job in Medford, Ore., on July 22. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
Jun 17, 2024
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It’s with a heavy heart that CommonSpirit Mercy Hospital CEO Brandon Mencini says he is leaving the hospital on July 1.

News broke earlier this week that Mencini had accepted a position at Asante as the CEO of two of the organization’s three hospitals in southern Oregon.

Mencini arrived in Durango in October 2022, primed for his first CEO job and ready to help write the hospital’s first post-COVID-19 chapter. He brought a gregarious personality to the job – one his colleagues are quick to mention – and embedded himself in Durango’s community.

His first task was to rebuild trust that had been lost during the pandemic.

“I’m open to conversations with anybody that wants to sit down, and talk to people that have thoughts, suggestions and ideas – and then just to be transparent and open in our communication as we move forward,” he told KSUT’s Sarah Flower in December 2022.

He has some proud statistics indicative of his success in the job.

Nearly all service lines have increased their market share from 2022 to 2023, surgery and emergency room patient volume are both up about 3%, and the hospital was recently ranked a top 20 rural and community hospital by the National Rural Health Association.

Under Mencini’s leadership, the hospital has brought on 33 physicians and advanced practice providers and lost only three, one of which recently returned.

But it’s the community Mencini says he will miss most.

“I’ve really honestly enjoyed coming to work every single day, and it’s the people that we have here working at Mercy,” he said.

Of course, higher volume also means new challenges, although Mencini said the hospital is well-poised for his successor to succeed.

“We've made a ton of progress in a short amount of time, but there's still so much more that we can do,” he said.

Like his predecessor, Patrick Sharp, Mencini will have served in the role for slightly less than two years. Successful CEOs of smaller hospitals within large systems like CommonSpirit are often tapped to lead bigger hospitals. Sharp was promoted to lead three hospitals, before he too left CommonSpirit for Asante. He now runs the organization’s third hospital in southern Oregon.

Mencini said that with his eldest child about to start high school, ensuring a stable future for his family is critical.

“Being in a position that I can hopefully be in for the next five to six years is really important for me,” he said.

The new role is a step from overseeing Mercy’s 82-bed facility. The Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center is a 378-bed level II trauma center and the Asante Ashland Community Hospital has 49 beds.

“From a career standpoint, yes, I can grow. But I’m really, really going to miss Mercy. I’m really going to miss Durango,” Mencini said.

A CommonSpirit spokeswoman said “we’re well on our way” in the search for a replacement.

As for what else he’ll miss? Mencini keeps a list of restaurants and his reviews of them on his phone, and a few standouts will be hard to leave.

The Weminuche Woodfire Grill is a favorite destination after paddleboarding on Vallecito Reservoir, he said, although he later added “I’d be remiss if I did not mention that I love Perbacco.”

rschafir@durangoherald.com



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