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Kimmes leaving Clifton-Fine Hospital

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STAR LAKE — Clifton-Fine Hospital Administrator Robert P. Kimmes is leaving at the end of the year for a similar position at a hospital in Washington state.

“Both my wife and I have family in the Western states,” Mr. Kimmes said. “That’s the main reason.”

Mr. Kimmes, who was hired in 2008, oversaw the building of a hospital addition that replaced a clinic that burned and has been working on converting the hospital from a public benefit corporation to a nonprofit so it can avoid massive increases in state pension contributions.

Mr. Kimmes’s departure should not be an obstacle to making the switch, which is proceeding along both a political track in the state Legislature and an administrative one in the state Health Department, board President Walter E. Todd said.

“That will be a smooth transition,” he said.

The board already has started advertising for Mr. Kimmes’s replacement through professional publications and health care organizations. Clifton-Fine, which has 11 hospital beds and nine long-term-care beds, prefers candidates with a master’s degree in health administration and at least three years’ experience in the field.

During its last search, the hospital received more than 50 applications, so finding a replacement should not be difficult, although a successor may not be in place by the time Mr. Kimmes has left, Mr. Todd said.

“We try to get someone that fits,” Mr. Todd said. “We’re a unique place. We’re not going to hurry it.”

The hospital provides swing beds, acute care and long-term care so an administrator has to be diversified, he said.

Mr. Todd had nothing but kind words for Mr. Kimmes.

“He’s been a very good CEO. He’s done a great job for us,” Mr. Todd said. “It’s a career move for him. CEOs move frequently. We wish him well.”

Mr. Kimmes will become CEO of Skyline Hospital, White Salmon, Wash., which is slightly larger than Clifton-Fine. The hospital recently has undergone a $15 million remodeling and is working on the second phase of an expansion.

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