Gregory T. LaFrancois currently serves as president at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle.
A search committee selected Gregory T. LaFrancois as the new president of Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. Credit: Courtesy of Northern Light Health

A hospital leader from Aroostook County will lead Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor as its next president.

Gregory T. LaFrancois, who currently serves as president at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle, will start in his new role on July 1. He will also continue working as Northern Light Health’s senior vice president.

LaFrancois joined Northern Light Health in 2016 after serving as president and CEO at St. Aloisius Medical Center in Harvey, North Dakota.

He has more than 25 years in health care, and his understanding of rural communities makes him a good fit for this role, according to a Tuesday announcement from EMMC.

That includes serving as chief financial officer of Cumberland Hall Hospital in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and CEO at Prairie Saint John’s, a psychiatric hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, according to his LinkedIn profile. LaFrancois retired from the United States Army with 20 years of active service in 2007, then worked in health care leadership since then, according to EMMC.

Northern Light EMMC’s last president, Rand O’Leary, stepped down in March to lead a hospital in his home state of Michigan. Tim Dentry, Northern Light Health CEO and president, stepped in as an interim leader April 1.

LaFrancois has the experience and passion to lead the Bangor hospital — which serves patients throughout central, eastern and northern Maine — in a positive direction, officials from the hospital system said.

“Eastern Maine Medical Center is so important to all our rural hospitals,” LaFrancois said in a statement. “I have relied on EMMC to coordinate the full spectrum of care for our communities in Aroostook County. I am excited to have the opportunity to positively affect care in communities throughout Maine.”

LaFrancois, who was one of 33 applicants for the position, pledged to “continue to be a highly visible and accessible leader.”

He and his wife, Danhong Zhao, will relocate to the Bangor region.

Jay Reynolds, senior physician executive at AR Gould Hospital, will take over as an interim leader at the hospital July 1.

A search committee including 14 people from EMMC’s board of trustees and a leadership council, led by trustees chair Heather Furth, selected LaFrancois from a pool of other candidates from various backgrounds to lead the hospital. There were 30 external and three internal candidates, including one from Florida, said Amy Kenney, an EMMC spokesperson.

Providers, nurses, support staff, leaders and others participated in candidate interviews, she said. Afterward, they were asked to complete a survey about the candidates.

“Greg’s understanding of Maine’s health care environment, coupled with his passion for engagement with staff, are exciting additions to the EMMC leadership team,” Dentry said. “He is a patient-focused leader who fosters cultures of learning and growth.”

Northern Light Health has also conducted a nationwide search for a new president to lead Acadia Hospital in Bangor. Several candidates were invited to interview, meet staff, tour the hospital and explore the area, Kenney said.

President Scott Oxley, who was also Northern Light Health’s senior vice president, stepped down May 1 to lead the Galen Cole Family Foundation. John Campbell, Acadia Hospital’s senior physician executive and vice president, is serving as interim president.

The hospital system plans to announce Acadia’s new president within the next two weeks, Kenney said.