In a moving ceremony held Saturday at Kent General Hospital, Bayhealth CEO Terry M. Murphy praised the vision and dedication of Dennis E. Klima, longtime President, CEO, and Chairman of Bayhealth Medical Center, Inc.
“Today, we formally memorialize Mr. Klima’s 31-year career by naming a building at Bayhealth Kent General the ‘Dennis E. Klima Building,’” Murphy said. “Mr. Klima has left an indelible mark on Kent General, his friends and family, and this community.”
It is a fitting testament to Mr. Klima’s values of compassion and community that the building named in his honor houses core hospital functions. On the three upper and one lower floor of this wing, formerly known as “The 1986 Building,” are inpatient units, cafeteria and kitchen, the wound care center, ICU, IMC, and dialysis. The three-story expansion, completed in 2005, includes the Center for Women and Infants as well as a floor providing 26 all-private rooms.
When he joined Kent General in 1980, Mr. Klima assumed leadership of a small community hospital; over subsequent decades, he transformed the organization into a regional healthcare provider now consisting of more than 3,100 employees.
Several of Mr. Klima’s accomplishments highlight his commitment to improving the health of the Delaware community by providing increased access to services. In the 1980s, he was instrumental in developing Delaware’s first in-patient psychiatric unit, ADAPTS. In 1997, he oversaw the merger of Kent General Hospital and Milford Memorial Hospital, forming Bayhealth Medical Center. In 2004, he brought cardiovascular services to Kent General.
Mr. Klima also emphasized collaboration during his tenure at Bayhealth. He initiated a partnership with Wesley College in the 1980s to start a nurse anesthesia program; built affiliations with the University of Pennsylvania Health System; and linked Bayhealth to an organization called Planetree, adopting the Planetree model of patient-centered care at Bayhealth.
“The growth of services and facilities during Mr. Klima’s career here has provided the foundation that is today’s Bayhealth,” Murphy said on Saturday. “This building recognizes that legacy.”