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Care New England President and CEO, James E. Fanale, MD, Set to Retire; Successor Announced

(Providence, RI) – James E. Fanale, MD, president and CEO, Care New England Health System (CNE) will serve his last day at the helm of Rhode Island’s second-largest healthcare system on December 1, 2022, at which time he will retire.

Fanale, having served as president and CEO of Care New England for the past nearly five years intends to spend his well-earned retirement away from the day-to-day operations of the busy healthcare system, enjoying life with his wife Deb and his children.

“Working alongside the leadership team at Care New England to improve the quality of healthcare in Rhode Island, while making it more readily accessible and affordable, has been among the highlights of my career. It is truly bittersweet to retire while there is still so much work to be done, however, the time has come for me to pass the torch to someone well-equipped to handle the challenges of operating a healthcare system of this magnitude. I will forever be grateful to those who hold the same vision I do, and that’s to always put patients first, no matter the circumstances,” said James E. Fanale, MD, president and CEO, Care New England Health System.

Fanale was a steadfast leader who always stood up for the healthcare system, its workers, patients, and the community. He also operated as CEO, while still working as a practicing physician, which afforded him a unique perspective on healthcare, in addition to his daily duties of system-level administration where he was ever-accountable to CNE finance, politics, merger and other partnership conversations, staffing, reputation management, board reporting, and much, much more.

Chairman of Care New England’s Board of Directors, Charles Reppucci, is thankful to Fanale for his unwavering commitment to healthcare while serving as president and CEO, saying, “During his tenure as president and CEO, Jim faced obstacles that seemed, at times, insurmountable, including financial stresses and national labor shortages, that were a result of the global pandemic. Anyone can lead a ship through calms waters, but it takes a true leader to right it, and stay the course, during unprecedented times, and that’s precisely what Jim did for us. Through it all, Jim persevered and lead with vision and confidence in his plan, and in his hand-picked team, whom he respected. For this, and for so many more reasons, we will forever be grateful to him. I, and the board and staff, wish Jim well in his retirement”

With that said, Care New England Health System’s Board of Directors prepares to welcome Dr. Fanale’s successor aboard. After conducting an intensive search, CNE’s Board of Directors has unanimously decided to install Michael Wagner, MD, FACP, as Care New England’s newest President and CEO, effective December 1, 2022.

Dr. Michael Wagner has built his career and reputation on being a leader who combines his unique experience as a physician, entrepreneur and healthcare executive to transform health care. Throughout his career, he has worked with caregivers in academic and community health care settings across the country.

Dr. Wagner most recently served as Chief Physician Executive (CPE) for Tufts Medicine, a $2.2B leading integrated health system. Tufts Medicine is world-renowned for bringing together the best of academic and community healthcare to deliver exceptional, connected, and accessible care experiences to Massachusetts. As CPE, he led the company’s physician enterprise, which includes the Tufts Medicine Integrated Network, Tufts Medicine Professional Group, and Quality and Patient Safety and Service Lines. He is also currently President and CEO of the Tufts Medicine Professional Group and Tufts Medical Center Physicians Organization.  

During 2019, Dr. Wagner was Interim CEO for Wellforce (now Tufts Medicine), a system recognized for its high quality, lower cost value position and its commitment to keeping care in the community. As Interim CEO, he led the formation of a single obligated group, the selection of a singular EMR platform and drove numerous strategic growth initiatives. 

Before that, Dr. Wagner served as President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center, the academic medical center of Tufts Medicine and the principal teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine. During his tenure, Tufts MC achieved a strong financial performance and was twice recognized with a Five Star rating on the Vizient (University Health System Consortium) annual quality and effectiveness evaluation – the only AMC in New England to achieve this recognition. 

In addition to his experience leading a complex health system, Dr. Wagner’s deep and varied experiences include managing a national physician practice management company, leading an academic division of general medicine and graduate medical education, and has held governance roles on non-profit and for-profit boards. 

A magna cum laude graduate of Connecticut College and a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr. Wagner completed his residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, NH. 

About Care New England
Care New England Health System is a trusted organization that fuels the latest advances in medical research, attracts the nation’s top specialty-trained doctors, hones renowned services and innovative programs, and engages in the important discussions people need to have about their health and end-of-life wishes. Care New England is helping to transform the future of health care, providing a leading voice in the ongoing effort to ensure the health of the individuals and communities we serve.


CNE was founded in 1996, and today it is the parent organization of Butler Hospital, Kent Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Care New England Medical Group, the VNA of Care New England, The Providence Center, and Integra, a certified accountable care organization (ACO). Care New England includes 970 licensed beds and 216 infant bassinets. Through Butler, Kent, and Women & Infants hospitals, Care New England has a teaching and research affiliation with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Kent is also a teaching affiliate of The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.