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October 18, 2021 POWER 25 HEALTHCARE

2021 Power 25 Health Care: Kurt Barwis

Another of the few independent hospitals remaining in Greater Hartford is Bristol Hospital, where Kurt Barwis has been at the helm as CEO for the past 15 years.

Kurt Barwis, President & CEO, Bristol Health

For the leader of a one-hospital system, Barwis has not shied away from the spotlight. He’s been outspoken, for example, in defending hospital executive salaries and on the challenges of staying independent in an ever-consolidating industry.

Bristol was set to be acquired by Tenet in 2014, along with several other Connecticut hospitals, but the deal fell apart and Barwis has kept the hospital operating on its own since then, continuing to invest in capital projects like a 60,000-square-foot ambulatory care center completed in 2019, and an ongoing $15-million overhaul of its emergency department that began just months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In fiscal 2019, the latest available data from the Office of Health Strategy, Bristol Health posted a $16.6 million deficit on $149 million in total operating revenue.

For the past year-plus Barwis’ focus has been on handling the pandemic.

He also tested positive for COVID-19. Barwis’ case, which occurred early during the pandemic, was mild, and he was back to work in less than a week.

He is also one of many Connecticut hospital CEOs that is requiring his staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in hopes of diminishing the spread of the virus, particularly the delta variant.

During a press conference with the governor in early July, Barwis told the media that his hospital system had administered more than 25,000 vaccines to the local community.

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