Dr. Clark resigns

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 6:30pm

Mark Clark, M.D., director of the Block Island Medical Center for the past five years, has submitted a letter of resignation effective Nov. 1, 2019. The letter cites professional and personal reasons for his departure. The letter of resignation was dated May 1, 2019.

Clark’s administrative assistant, Kyra Ernst, has also submitted her letter of resignation that will become effective May 31, 2019, according to  Block Island Health Services Board Chair Cindy Baute.

Clark arrived at a facility that had been defined for years by inner turmoil, public scrutiny, and questions of economic stability. Clark eventually oversaw a four-year period of an increasing number of patients seeking primary care, an expansion of services and an improved public image after those years of divisive and acrimonious debate.

Dr. Clark’s tenure also, in its vision to expand services, saw a continued reliance on public taxpayer support for the facility. At the Financial Town Meeting on Monday, May 6, voters approved a public appropriation of $300,000 for the facility, a $40,000 increase over the previous year’s allocation.

In a statement to The Block Island Times, Baute wrote: “The members of the Block Island Health Services Board of Directors are profoundly saddened by Dr. Mark Clark’s decision to resign his position at the Medical Center. In the nearly five years he has served, Dr. Clark has elevated the standard of health care with expansion of programs and services for the Block Island community and its visitors.”

In his letter to Baute, Dr. Clark wrote:

“I wish to thank you as Chair, and the entire Board of Directors for your confidence in me and support as we have worked together over the last four years to create positive change at the Medical Center. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you and the rest of the Board members and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. To you, Cindy, I am particularly grateful — for your kindness, your generosity of spirit, your leadership and your unwavering support. Your dedication to the Medical Center has been an inspiration.”

“I wish to thank the entire Block Island Community and the Town of New Shoreham for sharing and supporting the vision of what the Medical Center can and should be; a trusted source of the highest quality, patient-centered health care, delivered with the highest degree of professionalism. Block Island deserves nothing less. Together, we have accomplished much over the last four years to move health care forward on Block Island, and with continued support the Medical Center will build on this foundation.”

“I thank the staff of the Medical Center for their hard work and dedication — without which no gains could have been made.”

“At this time for both professional and personal reasons it is necessary for me to submit my resignation effective Nov. 1, 2019. Until then I will, of course, continue to give my best efforts and attention to our patients, as well as to our current initiatives; and to assist with a smooth leadership transition to Board’s choice of the next Medical Director for BIHS.”

Baute added in her statement that Clark has “provided his patients with the highest degree of professionalism, caring and integrity. In 2018, the Medical Center saw a 51 percent increase in the use of services such as primary care, physical therapy, wellness/risk reduction, behavioral care, and women’s care — all programs Dr Clark initiated.”

“Under his leadership, in concert with the Finance Director, initiatives were taken to maximize accuracy, efficiency and timeliness in coding and billing which are essential for financial viability.”

“We have made tremendous strides forward and the Board is committed to keep the momentum going. We are in the process of selecting and appointing a search committee to find a successor. Dr. Clark has assured us that he will work with the Board and the search committee in any way he can to facilitate this process.”

“We are truly grateful for the leadership Dr. Clark has provided to Block Island Health Services and we wish he and Michael all the best as they move on.”