Bay Pines Welcomes New Healthcare System Director - Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My HealtheVet badge
EBenefits Badge

Bay Pines Welcomes New Healthcare System Director

September 17, 2018

Photo of Mr. Paul M. Russo, Director, Bay Pines VAHCS, greeting staff at his first day at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center September 17, 2018.Mr. Paul Russo (center), Director, Bay Pines VAHCS, is accompanied by Dr. Miguel Lapuz (right), VISN 8 Network Director, as they greet employees on Russo's first day at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Paul M. Russo as the new medical director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. Russo’s appointment is effective September 17, 2018.  He will oversee delivery of health care to approximately 110,000 Veterans with an operating budget of more than $810 million dollars. 

Russo is joining the healthcare system after serving as the Director of the Miami VA Healthcare System for the last six years. Prior to his last appointment, he fulfilled a role as the Director at the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina.

Russo received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York College at Buffalo in 1982 in clinical nutrition. He obtained his Registered Dietitian (R.D.) status in October 1982. He began his VA career as a staff dietitian at the Buffalo VA Medical Center, eventually working his way to the Chief of the Integrated Nutrition and Food Service Department between Miami and West Palm Beach VA Healthcare Systems. He then served as the Assistant Director of the Miami VA Healthcare System prior to his appointment as Associate Director of the West Palm Beach VA Healthcare System from 1994 through 2010.

Russo is also a graduate of Leadership VA class of 1997 and a graduate of the Veterans Health Administration Executive Career Field class 2003. He is also a certified mentor at the fellow level and several of his mentees have progressed to senior executive positions within the Veterans Health Administration.

He received his master's degree in health systems administration at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005 and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus in 2013. He is board certified as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is a recipient of the Administrators Hands and Heart Award in 1985 awarded when working as Oncology Dietitian at the Bay Pines VAHS and Secretary's Award for Dietitian of the Year in 1996. He is a senior member of the American Society for Quality and has maintained his registered dietitian status.

In 2006 he received the ACHE Regents Award for establishing the Treasure Coast Health Care Executive Network, a local chapter of ACHE. He served as President of the chapter from 2006-2008 and board member thereafter. In 2011 he received the ACHE Distinguished Service Award. In February 2015 he received the Legion of Honor Humanitarian Award from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains in recognition of his service to all people regardless of race or faith.

“Mr. Russo’s sound leadership qualities and proven experience will be valuable assets for Bay Pines, the employees and volunteers, and most importantly, for the Veterans we are honored to serve,” said Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 8 Network Director Miguel LaPuz, MD, MBA.

With more than 4,300 employees and facilities in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring, the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System boasts 397 operating beds and conducted nearly 1.45 million outpatient visits last year.

About the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

The Bay Pines VAHCS is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and is one of the nation’s leading VA healthcare systems, employing more than 4,300 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing the very best care to Veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization is one of the largest VA health care systems in the country in terms of patients served and is accredited by The Joint Commission, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and several other nationally recognized accrediting organizations. The Bay Pines VAHCS operates nine facilities to include the main medical center located in Bay Pines and outpatient clinics located in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring. To learn more, please visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at