MED MOVES: Children’s Colorado names first chief of mental health, and more

In other news, CHI Health gets a new CEO, the University of Vermont Health’s leader is retiring, and other systems announce new leaders.

K. Ron-Li Liaw has been named the inaugural mental-health-in-chief at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

The system has created the position to help address pediatric mental health needs, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Liaw is also the director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and vice chair of diversity, equity and inclusion in the psychiatry department at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

She previously served with Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, where she was director of the Sala Institute’s child-family services and resilience programs and chief of service for child and adolescent psychiatry.

Liaw said she looks forward to developing an integrated system for children and families.

“I am impressed with the mission, vision, footprint and the depth of humble expertise I’ve found at Children’s Colorado, along with tremendous partners who are all driving a movement of change for children’s health,” she said in a statement. “We want Colorado to be an innovative and effective model, and I’m excited to be part of the momentum and part of the team that’s going to get us there.”

Children’s Colorado said its psychiatric unit has been packed for more than a year. From January through mid-October 2021, the pediatric system saw a 70% increase in children coming to the emergency department for a mental health crisis, compared to the same period in 2019.

Jena Hausmann, Children’s Colorado’s president and CEO, said the system is seeing "the disastrous downstream impacts of an already-broken pediatric mental health system that's been further strained by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In a statement, Hausmann said she welcomes Liaw's “vision, energy and leadership, especially as we reimagine our response to crisis care and expand our mental health inpatient, outpatient and day treatment services across our system of care.”

CHI Health names new CEO

E.J. Kuiper has been named the new CEO of CHI Health and president of CommonSpirit Health’s Midwest Division.

Kuiper will lead a system that includes 28 hospitals, two behavioral health centers, and more than 150 physician practices in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota.

Before joining CHI Health, Kuiper served as president and CEO at Hospital Sisters Health System Illinois, which includes nine hospitals. He also served as the president and CEO of Saint Anthony’s Health System in Alton, Illinois. He also served as the chief operating officer of HCA Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center and Gulf Coast Hospital in Fort Myers, Florida.

"I believe that as a health care system, our most precious asset is our people," Kuiper said in a statement. "Without a highly engaged workforce, our hospitals, our clinics, our office buildings are just real estate."

Kuiper said the biggest challenge ahead is the stress on healthcare workers during the pandemic.

"Whether directly at the bedside or a few steps away supporting caregivers behind the scenes, everyone has felt the impact of the pandemic,” he said. “Turnover in health care across the nation is too high, engagement levels are too low and too many of us feel burned out. Working on workforce wellness at CHI Health will be my focus going forward."

University of Vermont Health CEO to retire

John Brumsted, president and CEO of the University of Vermont Health Network, said he will retire on Sept. 30.

The system announced the news Jan. 25. He has served as CEO since the system was formed. The health network said it will conduct a national search to find Brumsted’s replacement before his retirement.

Brumsted said in a statement that it’s “an honor to be part of healthcare in Vermont and northern New York.”

“We have experienced and accomplished so much together, and we created something new – an integrated health care system – to respond to the needs of the patients we are so privileged to serve,” Brumsted said.

“We have faced many challenges, and there is no doubt that there will be more challenges in the future. I am confident that this organization will continue to innovate and improve the way we serve and advance the health of our patients and our communities.”

Brumsted has spent more than four decades in the healthcare industry.

The health network operates six hospitals and other healthcare sites in Vermont and northern New York. The system has 15,000 employees.

Ardent selects chief nursing officer

Lisa Dolan has been named chief nursing officer of Ardent Health Services.

The system said she will oversee quality and education for the system’s 7,000 nurses. Ardent, based in Nashville, Tenn., manages 30 hospitals and more than 200 care sites in six states.

Dolan replaces Laurie Bigham, who retired as Ardent’s first chief nursing officer at the end of the year.

Dolan has more than three decades of nursing leadership experience. She previously served as Ardent’s vice president of clinical outcomes.

Before joining Ardent in 2020, she spent six years in leadership positions for Community Health Systems. Dolan began her career in cardiovascular nursing and held leadership roles at Jewish Hospital and KentuckyOne Health in Louisville.

“I look forward to ensuring that nursing continues to not only have a voice at the highest levels of the organization, but also the resources and support needed to thrive amid the challenges facing our profession,” Dolan said in a statement.

Baptist Health Lexington gets new president

Chris Roty has been named president at Baptist Health Lexington in Kentucky. Roty succeeds Bill Sisson, who died Dec. 27, 2021. Sisson served as the hospital’s president for more than 31 years.

Roty had recently been named chief operating officer at Baptist Health Lexington, a 434-bed hospital. He has spent 28 years in the healthcare industry.

Previously, he served as president at Baptist Health Paducah, where he was credited with expanding the system and recruiting more doctors. He served as president at Baptist Health La Grange, while still serving as a vice president at Baptist Health Louisville (then known as Baptist Hospital East).

“I have long admired the Lexington team and how they have created a culture of excellence through high standards and a focus on patient care,” Roty said in a statement.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead those efforts, with a continued emphasis on excellent patient care, physician engagement and growth.”

Inspira names president of medical group

Inspira Health has named Scott Wagner president of Inspira Medical Group in southern New Jersey.

Wagner will oversee Inspira’s physician enterprise. He will also continue to serve as interim Chief Medical Officer of Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill.

Wagner said in a statement he is honored to assume his new role “especially as we stand on the precipice of such significant growth and expansion.”

Inspira operates three hospitals, two cancer centers, eight multi-specialty health centers and more than 35 physician practices.

Even as the healthcare landscape changes, Wagner said, "Inspira will continue to deliver, and expand upon the high-quality care that is synonymous with our organization, ultimately fostering healthier communities.”

Wagner has spent 20 years at Inspira, beginning as an emergency physician in 2002. Since then, he has served as the chairman of the department of emergency medicine for Bridgeton, Elmer and Vineland.

Most recently, Wagner has served as the chief medical officer for Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill and Inspira Health Center Woodbury.