6 things to know about CHI, Dignity CEOs Kevin Lofton & Lloyd Dean

Under a Dec. 7 merger agreement, the two heads of Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives and San Francisco-based Dignity Health will jointly lead the combined Catholic health system as co-CEOs.

Kevin E. Lofton, CEO of CHI, and Lloyd Dean, CEO of Dignity Health have each helmed their respective organizations for more than 10 years.

Their decision to merge the two nonprofit Catholic health systems will result in the creation of a $28.4 billion enterprise comprising 139 hospitals and more than 159,000 employees across 28 states.

Here are six things to know about Mr. Lofton and Mr. Dean.

1. One of Mr. Lofton's early jobs in healthcare involved working as an emergency department administrator at UF Health Shands Jacksonville (Fla.), one of the busiest emergency departments in the country at the time. He has previously described the experience in subsequent interviews as similar to running a mini-hospital.

2. Mr. Lofton has served in leadership positions across a range of public, university, community and faith-based hospitals. Before helming CHI, he served as CEO of the University of Alabama Hospital at Birmingham. He also served in executive roles at Washington, D.C.-based Howard University Hospital and UF Health Shands Jacksonville (Fla.).

3. Aside from his experience as an ED administrator, Mr. Lofton credits one other experience he's had that provided him with an in-depth look at the healthcare industry as a whole. During a 2003 presentation to the CHI board of stewardship trustees, Mr. Lofton said the challenges he saw his mother face as a patient in the healthcare system spirited his drive and commitment to improve care delivery across all of CHI's member hospitals.

4. In an interview with Becker's Hospital Review last April, Mr. Dean said the health disparities between poorer and more affluent communities he saw growing up really piqued his interest in healthcare.

"I lived in a community growing up where when people got sick, they either muscled through or didn't make it. When I was accepted into a school in a more affluent community, I was shocked at how much healthier my peers and their families were because they had regular checkups and access to care," Mr. Dean told Becker's. "I saw firsthand the perils of not having access to quality, affordable healthcare, and so I've made it my mission to do everything in my power to improve access in the communities Dignity Health serves."

5. Family has played a significant role in Mr. Dean's life. He said his ideal day would involve spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren, and he credits his mother as one of the most inspirational people in his life.

6. Mr. Dean said during the April interview one of the best decisions he's ever made was to become CEO of Dignity Health, while his biggest regret was not running for public office. However, he told Becker's Dignity has allowed him to affect change in much the same way he would have done as a politician, providing him countless opportunities to "influence lasting and positive change for the health of our communities."

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