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UMass Memorial Health Care CEO stepping down

Mar 14, 2012 6:40pm
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(NECN: Kristen Doucet) - John O'Brien will step down as CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care in January of 2013.

He's led the health care system since 2002, taking in over in a time of transition.

O'Brien was the fourth CEO in 27 months.

“We had to get to work right away; we didn't have a lot of time. They had recently laid off several people and we had to build a good team,” O’Brien said.

He said he is stepping down because he'd only planned on holding the position for 10 years.

During his time, he increased medical staff by 25-percent, completed major construction projects, advanced the quality and safety of care and led community efforts to promote wellness.

The end of his tenure does not come without challenges.

The hospital announced in February that they could cut as many as 900 jobs citing declines in patient volume and reimbursements.

“The business community expects us to do a better job; everyone is reducing payments to hospitals and we are having an inability to stay up with the pace of that,” he said.

O'Brien wants to continue working in health care once he retires.

He said he's always had an interest in helping the uninsured get access to health care dating back to when he first became a hospital CEO at the age of 35.

“Maybe I could help the health care system and the public health system. Maybe I could bring them together and get that aligned more effectively so we can provide more value,” O’Brien said.

He will work at the hospital for the next nine months and said he looks forward to helping his successor in the transition.

“To say the path forward is clear would be foolish,” O’Brien said. “We are going to have to figure this out as a team, and I believe that type of leader will be successful.”

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