CEO Chris Van Gorder: Securing Scripps Health's Future

Chris Van Gorder serves as president and CEO of Scripps Health in San Diego. He was integral to Scripps' turnaround in 2000 and is currently leading the system through a different type of turnaround — a growth and expansion plan for the San Diego region worth billions. Mr. Van Gorder's unique past has helped him lead Scripps Health into a bright future.

Chris Van Gorder Secures the Future of Scripps Health as CEOPrior to serving Scripps Health, Mr. Van Gorder served as a police officer in the San Diego area. He was injured on duty and was forced to retire. After his recovery, he began a new career in hospital security. Mr. Van Gorder continued his education in healthcare management and was appointed as president and CEO of Scripps Health in 2000.

As president and CEO, Mr. Van Gorder oversees an integrated health system including five acute-care hospital campuses, dozens of outpatient centers and a regional home health service. When he was named CEO, the organization was losing $15 million a year. Employee and physician confidence was also low. Mr. Van Gorder offered a transparent management style and assembled a talented executive team to streamline business operations and focus on internal efficiencies, physician relations and workplace culture. Scripps Health is now doubling its outpatient neighborhood locations and expanding all its hospital campuses.

In October 2010, Mr. Van Gorder announced a new direction for Scripps Health. In anticipation of dramatic change in healthcare, he "turned the organization on its side," creating a horizontally matrixed management structure to identify and significantly reduce unnecessary variation in patient care and healthcare operations. The new "One Scripps" approach led to more than $70 million in performance improvements in the first year.

"My major goal is to successfully lead Scripps through the most significant change and transformation in healthcare delivery in 100 years. We need to move Scripps from a 'sick business' — one that helps you when you are sick — to a 'wellness business' one that helps you stay well and out of the hospital. That will require a significant change in focus, financing of care and [embracing] new technologies — genomic, wireless, expanded ambulatory — to help us monitor health care populations but in an individual way," says Mr. Van Gorder.

Mr. Van Gorder maintains a passion for community service through avid volunteer work. He currently serves as a reserve commander in the San Diego County sheriff's department search and rescue unit, as a licensed emergency medical technician and as an instructor for the American Red Cross. Recently, he was named the San Diego County sheriff department's Volunteer of the Year. He has received other awards for his volunteer work including the Maltese Cross Award from the San Diego County Fire Chiefs, the MedAssets Outstanding Humanitarian Award and the ACHE's Exemplary Service Award, among others.

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