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Providence CEO plans to retire: ‘The time is right’

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Rod Hochman says he is stepping down at the end of the year and will move into a CEO emeritus position. Industry leaders praised him as ‘visionary’ and a voice for the vulnerable.

Rod Hochman, the president and CEO of the Providence health system, has overseen a dramatic expansion of the organization.

Image: Providence

Rod Hochmam, the president and CEO of the Providence health system, plans to retire at the end of the year.

Now, after 17 years with Providence, and 45 years of work in the healthcare industry, Hochman said Wednesday that he is planning to retire. He announced his intention to step down at the end of the year and move into a CEO emeritus position in January 2025.

“I have decided the time is right to pass the baton to the next generation of leadership and retire at the end of this year,” Hochman said in a post on LinkedIn.

The health system says it has begun a search for the next CEO. Providence’s board and sponsors have “put together a succession process that I think we'll be very, very happy with,” Hochman said in a video message announcing his departure.

Providence, a nonprofit Catholic health system, now operates 51 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics in seven states. The system employs 120,000 individuals. Providence joined with Swedish Health Services in 2012, and merged with St. Joseph Health in Irvine, Calif. in 2016. Providence and Swedish adopted a unified brand in 2022, and Providence Swedish is building a new, $1.3 billion tower in Seattle.

In 2020, the system launched Providence India, a healthcare innovation center, to help accelerate the system’s digital transformation.

Like many health systems nationwide, Providence has seen some financial struggles in recent years. Providence ended 2023 with a net loss of about $600 million.

In his video message, Hochman noted that Providence has had its strongest first quarter in the past few years. “That trend is continuing and it's putting us back on track to do all the things that we want to do,” Hochman said in the video message.

Hailed as ‘visionary’

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, said in a statement that Hochman’s “leadership in the healthcare sector has been nothing short of visionary.”

“He consistently stays ahead of the curve, always looking towards the future, a step ahead of everyone else. His passionate advocacy for expanding coverage and applying innovation to enhance care and the patient experience has not only improved the lives of millions of Americans but has also set a new standard for hospitals and health systems,” Pollack said.

Earlier this week, Hochman was named the chairman of the board of Truveta, a company formed and governed by some of America’s largest health systems. Truveta gathers patient data from hundreds of hospitals for health research.

Terry Myerson, CEO of Truveta, said that Hochman’s leadership has played an important role in Truveta’s development.

“Dr. Hochman has been foundational to Truveta growing into the company it is today and shares our big dreams for its future,” Myerson said in a statement.

Hochman previously served as board chairman of the American Hospital Association in 2021. He also is a former chair of the Catholic Health Association’s board of trustees.

Sr. Mary Haddad, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, said Hochman remained focused on serving those in need.

“In particular, he has been a tireless voice for those who are most vulnerable and one of the most vocal advocates nationally for Medicaid expansion,” Haddad said in a statement from Providence. “His advocacy has played an important role in expanding access to care for millions of people across the U.S. We will forever be grateful for the impact he has made on behalf of those in need.”

Under Hochman’s guidance, Providence has emerged as a leader in the effort to improve sustainability in healthcare. Providence is aiming to use renewable electricity throughout the system by 2030. The health system also hopes to divert 50% less waste to landfills by the end of the decade.

While gaining recognition for its sustainability efforts, Providence says the system is also saving more than $11 million annually. The system hopes to eventually save $100 million annually through its sustainability efforts.

‘Absolutely loved working here’

Hochman said in his video announcement that he had trouble believing it’s been 45 years since he graduated medical school. An immunologist and rheumatologist, Hochman said that Providence has become “his life” in his time with the system.

“You can ask that to my wife of 46 years,” Hochman said in the video message, adding that she “shared me with Providence over all of these years.”

“I have just absolutely loved working here,” he said.

Hochman highlighted Providence’s work to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic was our finest hour,” Hochman said. “From the moment the first known U.S. patient with COVID-19 was admitted to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in January of 2020, our caregivers sprung into action, pulling together as a system and bringing our collective knowledge and resources to bear. I will always be inspired by the courage, professionalism and dedication of everyone at Providence.”

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