Ronald Rappaport steps down from hospital board

Ronald Rappaport, who serves as town counsel for the majority of Island towns, has resigned as a member of the MV Hospital board of trustees. —Stacey Rupolo

Updated 8/4 at 2:30 pm

Martha’s Vineyard attorney Ronald Rappaport has resigned as a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital board of trustees.

In a phone interview with The Times on Friday, Mr. Rappaport cited a difference over governance and decision-making on the hospital board, but refused to link it to the firing of CEO Joe Woodin in June.

“What I want people to clearly understand is the quality of care at the hospital is excellent from the doctors to the nurses to the professional staff,” he said. “There is a crisis of confidence, but I want to emphasize that the public should continue to support the hospital financially and otherwise.”

Mr. Rappaport had served on the board for three years.

His resignation comes at a time when the community is calling for more transparency on the board of trustees. As of Friday, an online petition demanding answers had been signed by 190 people.

Changes have been made to term limits on the board. While the board’s officers had no term limits, they will now rotate out of those positions in the future, Timothy Walsh, acting CEO at the hospital, said. Board members can serve three three-year terms, he said. Timothy Sweet, the hospital board’s chairman, has held that position for 17 years.

The decision to allow officers to stay on the board long-term came at a time when the hospital was coming out of bankruptcy and needed stability, Mr. Walsh said.

The board currently has 14 members, but could have as many as 20, Mr. Walsh said. The hospital bylaws require that at least 80 percent of the board members have ties to the Vineyard. The governance committee typically seeks to replace outgoing board members in January for approval at the May annual meeting, but because of Mr. Rappaport’s departure and other openings, the committee is meeting now, Mr. Walsh said.

Editor’s note: updated to include comments from Mr. Walsh.