As reported by the New Britain Herald, January 19, 2009.

Dempsey Hospital Head Retiring Post

By Scott Whipple

FARMINGTON — After more than five years at the UConn Health Center, Jim Thornton, director of John Dempsey Hospital, will be retiring effective Feb. 1.

The announcement was made by Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., vice president for health affairs at the University of Connecticut, and dean, University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Laurencin was not available for comment.

Before assuming the JDH director position in 2006, Thornton held a number of financial management positions at the Health Center.

Mike Summerer, M.D., M.S., will serve as interim hospital director effective today. An experienced cardiologist, Summerer has more than 15 years of hospital system senior leadership experience.

Most recently, Summerer served as system vice president, chief medical officer at Hallmark Health System. A multi-hospital health care system in eastern Massachusetts, Hallmark has approximately 350 beds, ambulatory facilities and extended-care facilities.

Before that, he was corporate senior vice president, chief medical officer at St. Vincent’s Health Services in Bridgeport.

The University of Connecticut Health Center continues to be involved in affiliation discussions with Hartford Hospital. For that reason, the hospital director position will be filled on an interim basis. The longer term status of the position will be determined pending the outcome of the affiliation discussions.

The partnership of University of Connecticut Health Center and Hartford Hospital has proposed a $475 million, state-of-the-art hospital to replace financially burdened John Dempsey Hospital. Construction of a new hospital requires legislative approval.

The proposed 250-bed hospital on the University of Connecticut Health Center’s Farmington campus would be larger than the current 224-bed facility.

“Hospital heads are actually talking together about the needs of the region. To me, that’s a real plus,” said Laurence Tanner, president and CEO of the Hospital of Central Connecticut.