Q & A with Larry Simon, New Witherell Board Chairman
At the end of January, The Nathaniel Witherell announced that Greenwich resident Larry Simon had been elected Chairman of its Board of Directors, succeeding David Ormsby, who stepped down after 10 years as Chairman. Mr. Simon has a long history of service to the Town of Greenwich and extensive expertise in healthcare management. At the time of his appointment, he was a member of the Witherell Board and he has served on the Town’s Retirement Board and Board of Estimate & Taxation as well as the boards of Greenwich Land Trust, United Way of Greenwich, the Bruce Museum, and the League of Women Voters. Mr. Simon was a co-founder and officer of Health Management Systems, a major coordinator of benefits for Medicare and Medicaid programs in more than 40 states, from 1974 until his retirement in 1997.
Why is the Witherell special to you? I became involved with the Witherell in the summer of 1998, helping to review their accounts receivables. And you could say I’ve had an emotional attachment ever since. The Witherell is a wonderful place where people are treated well and with dignity. I really think it’s the best in terms of staff and services.
Why is the Witherell important to Greenwich? Many people who live in Greenwich actually are born and die here. So, they look to Witherell as a place where they know they can go to be taken care of when they need rehab services or grow old. It is one of the many amenities that makes Greenwich such a special place.
Why did you accept the nomination to become Board Chairman? The Nathaniel Witherell is a complex business, and I’ve had experience running a large company. I was very involved with Greenwich’s Retirement System and served 12 years on the Board of Estimate & Taxation, giving me an understanding of how Town budgeting works. For me, it was the perfect match of Witherell’s needs and my skills and interests.
What are the first items you would like to address as Board Chairman? I plan to focus on improving the implementation of the capital plan. To begin with, we’ll be converting five beds to short-term rehab use. This involves adding five showers and a nursing station, and we’re targeting July 1 for completion. My second focus is on improving the attractiveness of the Witherell by upgrading common areas – such as the auditorium – and installing new carpeting. Thirdly, I’m looking to expand the admissions department from 2 to 3 full-time staff members. In general, I’d like to enhance the public’s perception of the Witherell. We have dedicated personnel and an extremely low turnover rate, many of our staff members have been here 10, 20 and even 30 years.