Health systems bulk up C-suites ahead of transformation

Faced with tighter margins and continued rising costs, many health system C-suites are restructuring. At least 17 health systems have reorganized executive teams and some eliminated C-suite roles.

 The chief operating officer role in particular has been on the chopping block for health systems but not everyone is slimming down. Some are bulking up amid organizational transformation with an eye on the future.

In June, Sutter Health in Sacramento, Calif., named Todd Smith, MD, its inaugural senior vice president and chief physician executive, responsible for supporting the health system through clinical transformation. Dr. Smith will focus on service line standards, reducing variation and strengthening the system's relationship with medical group and community physicians.

Sutter isn't the only system adding clinical leaders to the C-suite. Mass General Brigham in Somerville, Mass., named Erica Shenoy, MD, PhD, its first chief of infection control in June. Her expanded role is accountable for leading the integration of infection control at the system and developing and implementing infection control standards, policies and measurements. She was also appointed to the National Infection Control Advisory Committee to guide HHS earlier this year.

Meritus Health in Hagerstown, Md., added physician leadership to its executive team. Adrian Park, MD, became the system's first chief surgical officer with responsibility for building a surgical program with advanced technology and minimally invasive procedures to the system. He is known for surgical innovation in laparoscopic techniques, and holds more than 20 patents.

MaineHealth in Portland recently added Chris Thompson, MD, to the C-suite as the system's first chief medical transformation officer. He is responsible for chief medical officer duties as well as innovating in care delivery.

Richmond, Va.-based VCU Health and OU Health in Oklahoma City named their first chief nursing executives as well earlier this year.

Health systems are also adding strategic experts with expertise in patient experience, transformation and data analytics.

Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare created a new role for Amaka Eneanya, MD, to serve as chief transformation officer, accountable for enhancing patient and clinician experiences. She took on the role in July and is tasked with developing systemwide strategies to boost patient experience, improve access to care, increase community engagement and enrich clinician experience. Dr. Eneanya works with the system's diversity, equity and inclusion office to prioritize strategies for health equity, diversity and inclusion in care delivery as well.

"Amaka is a forward-thinking leader who is well versed in transformational strategy and operational structure and will help us move Emory Healthcare to the next level," said Joon S. Lee, MD, CEO of Emory Healthcare. "We look forward to working with her in our continued pursuit to transform and strengthen patient access and the patient experience."

Last year, Centura Health in Centennial, Colo., also added a chief transformation officer, Scott Lichtenberger, MD, as a new position to balance short-term improvements and long-term value. He is responsible for ensuring the system delivers results quickly.

Finally, Cleveland Clinic has elevated another IT leader into the C-suite in recent weeks. Albert Marinez was named the system's first chief analytics officer, set to begin his new role Aug. 28. He previously served as chief analytics officer of Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City, and will be responsible for overseeing data strategies for better patient care and lower costs at Cleveland Clinic. He will also have accountability for boosting the system's growth alongside chief digital officer Rohit Chandra, PhD.

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