Press Release Archive

Press Release Archive

Harrison CEO announces retirement this year - 6/1/2004

The end of the year will signal the end of an era when Harrison President/CEO Dave Gitch retires after 13 years of service with the hospital.

Harrison's Board of Directors will oversee selection of his replacement, with Vice-Chair Carl Cramer leading the search committee. The Board's objective is to fill the position prior to Gitch's departure December 31, a date that coincides with the celebration of his 65th birthday and the anniversary of his 40th year in hospital administration

Gitch came to Harrison in 1991 from Seattle's Harborview Medical Center where he served as CEO of the Level I trauma center for 6 years. His arrival at Harrison came at a time when healthcare reform was being debated both nationally and in Washington State. Gitch preferred to focus on the promise and potential-especially in Kitsap County-considering his most crucial challenge that of assuring access to care and health coverage for all.

During his first year at the helm, Gitch helped Harrison celebrate its 50th anniversary year and entered into an ambitious long-range plan to take the hospital and its patients into the 21st century. Together with the Board and community, a vision was shaped that outlined where-and how-Harrison would expand, not only to meet the needs of a larger population, but to successfully adapt to a changing medical climate.

In 1995, the hospital completed its first of many projects to improve not only the quality of patients' care but their overall comfort and convenience. The surgery expansion project-7 new operating rooms were added for a total of 13-also included new lobby, waiting and patient registration areas.

Commitment to extend services to the north and south ends of the county began the same year with addition of Harrison South Kitsap in Port Orchard. The 32,000-square-foot medical building houses physicians' and Harrison Home Health offices; pharmacy; lab; X-ray; and outpatient dialysis; plus walk-in urgent care services seven days a week.

Harrison Silverdale opened in 2000; the 44-bed facility is home to women's and children's services; short-stay medical and surgical services; outpatient surgery; outpatient rehabilitation; and 24-hour emergency services. Future plans for the 37-acre site encompass a variety of expanded healthcare services over the next 10 years.

The year 2000 also brought addition of a new Radiation Oncology Center at the main hospital campus in East Bremerton.

Last year saw the beginning of the first-ever open-heart surgery and related cardiac intervention services to our three-county region in a unique collaboration with UW Medicine Regional Heart Center.

The most recent addition, which debuted last month, was the grand opening of a $13-million emergency department, also at the main hospital campus in East Bremerton.

But healthcare has always been about more than new buildings and expanded services for Gitch, who believes that a healthy community is achieved through cooperation. He has worked diligently to build relationships among physicians local healthcare providers, and the community. His affiliation and leadership roles with state and local agencies, including the American Hospital Association and the Washington State Hospital Association, as well as numerous civic organizations, is longstanding.

While the shape of the hospital has changed radically in Gitch's tenure, the spirit of the hospital and its dedication to community care have not. "Those ideals stand as solid as ever," says Gitch.

The hospital's recent accreditation report by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is testimony to "our terrific staff who do good work," he says. "Harrison was a highly regarded community hospital when I arrived 13 years ago, and I'm proud to be identified with its growth and success."

Thirteen years after his arrival, healthcare's waters remain stormy. But nearing completion of the current strategic plan, Gitch feels the timing is right-personally and professionally-to plan for a change in leadership. He remains committed to the present challenges of leadership and will continue to address hospital issues and the community's healthcare needs until the day of his retirement. #