Sentara Healthcare CEO David Bernd to retire, Howard Kern to assume role: 4 things to know

David L. Bernd, CEO of Norfolk, Va.-based Sentara Healthcare, will retire March 3, 2016, bringing to a close to a 43-year career with 21 years at the helm.

Here are four things to know about Mr. Bernd.

1. In announcing his retirement, Mr. Bernd called his goodbye "bittersweet," but said he is excited to see what this next chapter for Sentara will look like. He added, "When I became CEO, I held the belief that clinical quality and patient safety should be our No. 1 priority. I am proud of the hard work and dedication of our physicians, clinicians, nurses and members of the team to make this a reality as we all live the Sentara mission to improve health every day. I move on with confidence in the service Sentara delivers to the communities we serve."

2. Under Mr. Bernd's leadership, Sentara has seen significant growth and transformation. In 1995, Sentara, known then as Sentara Health System, was a $600 million company with four hospitals, a newly formed 63-physician medical group and a 143,000-member health plan. Today, Sentara is a $4.7 billion, multistate, integrated system with 12 hospitals, four medical groups with more than 900 providers, a more than 450,000 member health plan and life care and home care services.

3. Under his leadership, Sentara has not only become the largest health system in Virginia based on revenue and the fifth largest employer, but the company has also developed a national reputation for safety, quality and innovation, Sentara said.

4. Upon Mr. Bernd's retirement, Howard P. Kern, the current president and COO of Sentara, will take over as CEO. Mr. Kern has been COO alongside Mr. Bernd for the past 18 years. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of numerous professional and community organizations. He served on the board of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association and was its chairman in 2012.


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