Editorial: Honored to Serve as Bay Pines VA Healthcare System Director - Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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Editorial: Honored to Serve as Bay Pines VA Healthcare System Director

September 26, 2018

Readers note: This editorial was authored by Paul M. Russo, Director/CEO, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System on September 26, 2018 and sent to newspapers and other media organizations across Southwest Florida.

Dear Editor:

I wanted to take the opportunity to formally introduce myself to your readers and my role as the new director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.

It is an absolute honor to serve as the director of one of the most highly regarded healthcare systems in the country. Bay Pines has a storied history, quality reputation, and is a Veterans health care leader in many areas such as Military Sexual Trauma (MST). It is my aim to ensure the organization continues to pursue performance excellence while delivering health care services and Veteran experiences that meet our 5-star expectations.

I committed myself to Federal service 36 years ago because I believe VA’s mission, particularly that of the Veterans Health Administration, is the most noble in government and all of health care. We only exist for one core reason – provide exceptional healthcare to Veterans and support their caregivers. From this core springs our important role in research and education/training of physicians, nurses and many other health professionals.

I spent the early years of my career as a clinician before making the switch to hospital administration about 15 years ago – so I understand health care from both the clinical and administrative perspectives. Although I am not a Veteran, I am the proud son of my father, a Korean War Navy Veteran. My uncles, Army and Marine Corps Veterans served in Korea, and more recently, my nephew served in the Marines in Afghanistan.

Many of our employees are Veterans, and like me, some are the sons, daughters, husbands or wives, fathers or mothers of Veterans who want to give back in their names. Regardless of why we come to work for Veterans each day, our mission and focus is the same - "To care for those who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan."

As director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System it is my promise to Veterans that my commitment to the mission will not waver. Our healthcare system will strive to deliver state-of-the-art, accessible, high-quality health care services to the men and women we have the honor and privilege to serve across Southwest Florida. America’s heroes deserve nothing less. However, we are not infallible. Hospitals are complex organizations with 24/7 operations and constantly moving parts. When things go awry, we will work to improve and take responsibility accordingly. We will be measured by our achievements, not our promises.

To close, I would like to personally thank all the Veterans who trust Bay Pines for their care. We are indebted to them, and it is my goal to uphold our nation’s promise by delivering exceptional health care services they have earned through their service to our great nation.


Paul M. Russo, MHSA, FACHE, RD
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

Photo of Paul M. Russo, Director, Bay Pines VAHCS

Editor’s Note: Paul M. Russo serves as Director/CEO of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.  He was appointed to his position on September 17, 2018. Prior to his current position, he served as Director/CEO of the Miami VA Healthcare System since March 2012.  To read Russo’s full bio, please visit: www.baypines.va.gov/about/leadership.asp.