BAR HARBOR — After 20 years at the helm of Mount Desert Island Hospital, President and CEO Art Blank has announced he will be retiring at the end of the year.
“Serving as your CEO for the past 20 years has been a great honor and privilege. I’m proud to have been part of a great team that has served our community with such compassion and professionalism,” said Blank, “yet Debi and I are ready to move into the next phase of our life.” He and his wife, Debi, will continue to reside in the area.
Blank stated in a letter to employees that in the year leading up to his retirement, he will be working closely with MDI Hospital’s board of trustees and senior management to develop a succession plan. “I am confident the future of the hospital is bright with strong leadership and a dedicated team,” he said.
Blank has served as CEO of the hospital since 1999. In that time, MDI Hospital has expanded to become a 25-bed critical access facility. Under Blank’s leadership, the hospital also added a new Breast Health Center and nonprofit retirement community and grew the network of community health centers to include a dental center and the community’s first full-service behavioral health center.
Through a partnership with five other rural Maine hospitals, Blank helped to establish the Maine Rural Health Collaborative, with a goal of preserving and enhancing healthcare within the communities they serve.
Blank worked to develop MDI Hospital’s teaching emphasis as well, in the forming of teaching partnerships with Penn Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, the University of New England and College of the Atlantic.
Blank has led several capital campaigns for a variety of program initiatives and capital improvements, including the renovation of MDI Hospital’s inpatient and obstetrical units in 2007, and the acquisition of a new state-of-the-art generator in 2018.
During Blank’s tenure, MDI Hospital has been recognized by numerous organizations. The Breast Health Center has been recognized for excellence by the American College of Radiology. The hospital’s inpatient, outpatient, emergency and surgical care services have been recognized by Avatar International, the Leapfrog Group, the National Rural Health Association, Harvard Pilgrim and Healthgrades. In 2016, the hospital was named the Trauma System Hospital of the Year.
“It is impossible to put into words how much Art has done for MDI Hospital and the health of our region,” said James Bright, MDI Hospital’s board chairman. “His strategic vision, leadership and advocacy have been the driving forces behind our growth … It is because of his dedication and passion that MDI Hospital remains independent, with decisions about our care, our operations, and our future being made in this community.”
Blank serves on numerous boards including the Maine Hospital Association, Good Will-Hinckley Home Association, MDI Rotary and the Center for Human Genetics. He is a member of the Maine Hospital Association’s Policy Council and is the current treasurer of the MDI YMCA.
MDI Hospital is a nonprofit organization. Established in 1897, the hospital is now the second-largest employer on Mount Desert Island, employing more than 500 people.