FARMINGTON — The chief operating officer for the San Juan Regional Medical Center is set to retire from the hospital after working there for four decades.

John Buffington will retire this month, according to a hospital press release.

The press release states Buffington was instrumental in helping shape San Juan Regional Medical Center by expanding the hospital facilities to include more patient rooms and operating rooms. He also was involved most recently in helping reopen the San Juan Health Partners Walk-In Clinic in Bloomfield on Aug. 29.

Jeff Bourgeois, San Juan Regional president and CEO, said in the press release that Buffington always put patients first.

“His focus on providing quality, personalized care has left a lasting legacy on (San Juan Regional Medical Center), and we are grateful to John for his 40 years of dedicated service,” Bourgeois said in the press release.

Buffington's position will not be filled and will be eliminated, according to Roberta Rogers, the hospital's marketing manager.

"After careful consideration and evaluation of all the leadership roles at San Juan Regional Medical Center, a decision has been made not to refill the COO position," Rogers said. "The duties of the COO have been redistributed within the new organizational structure."

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