As his executive vice president gets ready to take over, Bayhealth president and CEO Dennis Klima prepares to close out 30 years with Kent County’s major medical services provider.

    A new chief executive officer soon will be managing Bayhealth Medical Center following the retirement of long-time CEO and president, Dennis Klima.

    In October, Terry Murphy will assume the responsibilities of managing Bayhealth’s $370 million in annual expenses and approximately 3,000 employees. Bayhealth Medical Center consists of Kent General and Milford Memorial hospitals, as well as several satellite facilities.

    Klima will continue as president of Bayhealth Inc., and will focus on health policy legislation, with Murphy serving as the corporation’s CEO. Bayhealth Inc. is the parent company of Bayhealth Medical Center.

    Murphy, who now serves as Bayhealth Medical Center’s executive vice president, said he will continue expanding medical services available to the public and increasing the number of both primary care physicians and specialists that work for the center.

    “We’re looking to provide facilities that grow with the population and change to meet the needs of the population,” Murphy said.

    This fall, some portions of the Dover hospital’s parking garage, now under construction, will be open for use by staff members. The rest of the facility will open to the public in July 2011 as part of the second phase of an expansion project that includes construction of a new oncology center and an emergency room.

    Murphy said he has been recruiting neurologists for the past two years and plans to continue working on expanding the surgical procedures available at Bayhealth Medical Services.

    “I’m going to try to work on retaining staff and getting a strong performance from employees,” Murphy said.

    Murphy has been serving as Klima’s executive vice president and chief operating officer since February 2002. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biological science in 1982 from Belmont Abbey College and a master’s degree in health services administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

    Klima, who has served as the president and CEO of the hospital for the past 30 years, described the job as similar to being a captain on a ship.

    “You have to oversee the operation of all different kinds of systems,” Klima said. “If it’s necessary to make a change, you have to be ready to change course.”

    Prior to coming to Bayhealth, Klima served as associate administrator at the Memorial Hospital of Easton, Md., assistant director of Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., and assistant to the administrative officer at the National Naval Medical Center.

    Klima plans to stay active in healthcare reform discussions and in examining whether planned reforms would be feasible in the day-to-day operations of a medical center.

    The transition has been running smoothly and aided by the two men working in close proximity, Klima said.

    “We’ve been getting our ducks in a row to hand over the responsibilities that I’ve had,” he said.

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