Adventist Health leadership shift marks transformative path forward, CEO says

Roseville, Calif.-based Adventist Health has shifted leadership, created three divisions and participated in acquisitions/partnerships to align with its 10-year strategy. 

The strategy is all about the 20-plus hospital organization moving away from a solely hospital/health system-centric focus and becoming a health company, CEO Scott Reiner, RN, said.  

"This is the idea of moving from whole person — physical, mental, spiritual, social care of an individual — to individual and community well-being," Mr. Reiner explained in a recent interview with Becker's Hospital Review. "We're excited about this work. It's going to be very transformative. It's going to take new kinds of jobs. It's going to take new kinds of talent. It's going to take very innovative leaders."

Adventist Health began discussions about its 2030 strategy in January and  initiated first steps in March. 

Among those steps was creating three divisions to replace the previous regionally defined model with a divisional structure. Instead of four regions in California, Hawaii, Washington state and Oregon, the organization is divided into care, well-being and managed health divisions. 

Led by Andrew Jahn, former regional president of Adventist Health in Southern California, the care division operates Adventist Health's care delivery footprint, including its hospitals and clinics in more than 80 communities, said Mr. Reiner. The well-being division focuses on efforts such as the organization’s community work for improving social determinants of health, and the health management division leads the organization’s focus on population health to drive value for patients, employers and payers.

As part of its 10-year strategy, Adventist Health also reorganized leadership functions to align with the new divisional structure. For example, the chief clinical officer role was modified to a chief health officer role. Hoda Asmar, MD, former chief clinical officer, left in July after the role changed, said Mr. Reiner. A chief health officer has not  been appointed, but Mr. Reiner said whoever is appointed chief health officer will be responsible for integrating all aspects of care, well-being and payer strategies inthe organization. 

Mark Ashlock, former president of physician services, Adventist Health, left his role in June, and Wayne Ferch, president of Adventist Health's Central California region, retired amid the leadership shift.

It's "all part of our design to put a different formatted team in place for the new strategy," said Mr. Reiner.

Acquisitions and partnerships are also part of Adventist Health's strategy. The organization acquired Blue Zones, a company that aims to help communities better manage people's health, in April. It also invested in  behavioral health technology company Synchronous Health to increase patient and employee access to behavioral health and well-being services.

"You certainly hear the significant amount of anxiety and depression related to the last six months, so we notice that with our patient family," Mr. Reiner said of the Synchronous Health investment.

That's why Adventist Health is investing in "the company where we'll be able to deliver a more sophisticated digital platform format for people working with anxiety and depression screening and treatment," Mr. Reiner said.

Adventist Health also began admitting up to 150 patients to its first virtual hospital, Adventist Health Hospital@Home, in May. The program uses virtual tech to treat patients in their homes. Its initial California service areas include Bakersfield, Clear Lake, Glendale, Hanford, Los Angeles, Mendocino County and Simi Valley.

Mr. Reiner said there's been a good response from patients, and the organization aims to treat about 25 conditions safely and effectively through the program.


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