MED MOVES: OU Health names first CEO, and more

In other news, Kaiser Permanente names a new leader for its southern California and Hawaii markets, and the longtime leader of Lovelace Health System is retiring.

Richard Lofgren has been named the inaugural chief executive officer of OU Health, the newly formed academic health system in Oklahoma.

Lofgren has been president and CEO of UC Health in Cincinnati since 2013. He plans to be onsite in Oklahoma City in mid-March, the system said.

He has spent more than 40 years in the healthcare industry. His career includes leadership roles at the University HealthSystem Consortium, the University of Kentucky, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Pittsburgh.

OU Health was formed last year when the University of Oklahoma and University Hospitals Authority and Trust merged their clinics and hospitals into Oklahoma’s first comprehensive academic health system.

“I’d like to thank the OU Health Board of Directors for their confidence in my ability to lead OU Health in this inaugural role,” Lofgren said in a statement.

“OU Health and the University of Oklahoma are uniquely positioned to transform healthcare across the state and region, and I’m looking forward to working with our physicians, providers, employees, the community, our state and our partners to realize the vision for a healthier Oklahoma.”

G. Rainey Williams, Jr., chairman of the OU Health Board of Directors, said Lofgren is uniquely qualified.

“Dr. Lofgren’s experience is perfectly suited to advance our newly integrated health system as we transform health for all Oklahomans,” Williams said in a statement. “He brings incredible experience and vision to OU Health as we transform into a single entity with leading clinical programs for the citizens of our state.”

Kaiser Permanente names new leader for southern Calif., Hawaii

Michelle Gaskill-Hames has been appointed as senior vice president/chief operating officer and chief strategy, growth and experience officer for Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California and Hawaii markets.

She began her role starting Feb. 7. She now oversees eight medical service areas in California, including locations in Kern, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. She will lead Kaiser Permanente’s plans for growth and efforts to bring high quality and affordable health care to more people in southern California and Hawaii.

“I look forward to being a part of the most accessible, innovative and highly desired health care system in Southern California and Hawaii,” Gaskill-Hames said in a statement.

“I am even more honored to work alongside a diverse group of talented physicians, dedicated staff, loyal members, and wonderful community leaders.  Together we will continue Kaiser Permanente’s mission to deliver exceptional experiences while improving the health of the communities we serve.”

Gaskill-Hames has held leadership roles for more than two decades. She joined Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Region in 2016. As senior vice president of hospital and health plan operations, Gaskill-Hames led seven geographic areas and 11 hospitals. She also led the region’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

Before joining Kaiser Permanente, she worked at Advocate Healthcare, Huron Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.

Lovelace CEO is retiring, successor named

Ron Stern, longtime CEO of the Lovelace Health System in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has announced his plans to retire.

Stern plans to retire effective March 31, but plans to continue in a consulting role through the end of the year. Janelle Raborn, Lovelace’s chief operating officer, has been named Sten’s successor as CEO.

Stern has led Lovelace since 2005 and has steered the system through a period of dramatic growth, the organization said.

Under his leadership, Lovelace acquired the Heart Hospital of New Mexico and Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell. The system also formed a partnership with the University of New Mexico Medical Group to create Lovelace UNM Rehabilitation Hospital. Stern also expanded Lovelace’s physician network.

A veteran at Lovelace, Raborn has held a variety of roles over her four decades with the system. Before becoming chief operating officer, she served as COO of Lovelace Women’s Hospital and Lovelace Medical Center. She also previously served as CEO of Lovelace UNM Rehabilitation Hospital.

In a statement, Stern described Raborn as a “skilled and compassionate leader who is deeply committed to Lovelace and our mission of caring for others.”

“Time and again, she has placed the needs of others first – earning the respect of employees and physicians and making a positive impact on the communities we serve,” Stern said. “I can think of no better person to lead Lovelace forward during this time of tremendous challenge and change for healthcare providers everywhere.”

Iowa hospital president plans to retire

Timothy Charles, president and CEO of Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has announced his plans to retire.

Charles said he plans to step down on Dec. 31, 2022. He has been president and CEO since July 2007. He has spent 19 years at Mercy Medical Center.

Al Ruffalo, chair of the Mercycare Service Corporation Board of Trustees, said in a statement the system has been fortunate to have had Charles’ leadership.

“Tim has led Mercy through some very challenging times, and because of his steadfast leadership, Mercy is poised for some exciting endeavors in the near future for our community,” Ruffalo said.

Charles had planned to retire last year but stayed on to help the organization with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has been credited with a host of initiatives, including the development of a new heart center, a cancer center, expanding the system’s footprint with healthcare services, and converting the hospital to all private rooms.

“Leading Mercy has been the most significant professional privilege of my 46-year career in healthcare,” Charles said in a statement. “The long list of accomplishments at Mercy are the result of a dedicated staff, devoted provider colleagues, philanthropic community stakeholders and our superb board of trustees. Mercy is well-positioned today and for the foreseeable future, serving our community as it has the past 122 years.”

WellSpan Health names new vice president

Patty Donley has been named vice president of WellSpan Health and president of WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital in central Pennsylvania.

Donley began her new role on Feb. 6. She succeeds Tom Harlow as president of the hospital. He is retiring in February.

She had served as vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at the hospital since 2017. She has also served as assistant vice president of nursing services at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital earlier in her career.

In her new position, Donley will oversee the “performance improvement and patient experience initiatives” at Good Samaritan, a 170-bed acute care hospital in Lebanon County. She will also serve as the executive leader for WellSpan’s system of care in Lebanon County.

“Good Samaritan has been the health care provider for Lebanon County for more than 130 years and I believe that deeply rooted community connection is extremely important,” Donley said in a statement. “I’m looking forward in continuing to serve this great community in a new capacity and also work to ensure we create a truly exceptional patient experiences for all who come through our doors.”