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Providence taps Hochman for CEO post

By Ashok Selvam
Posted: February 11, 2013 - 3:15 pm ET

Providence Health & Services will have another physician as its president and CEO, as officials have promoted Dr. Rod Hochman to lead the 29-hospital Catholic healthcare system.

Hochman, 57, is presently one of two Providence group presidents. He will succeed Dr. John Koster starting July 1. Koster, 62, in December announced his plans to retire at the end of 2013. He had served as president and CEO since 2003. Hochman told Modern Healthcare on Monday that he spent the past week in Montreal meeting the system's founders, the Sisters of Providence.

“It's an incredible organization,” Hochman said. “It's over 150 years old and with great traditions.”

A spokeswoman for Renton, Wash.-based Providence said the system conducted an internal search for Koster's replacement. Hochman's medical background is in rheumatology and internal medicine. He served as president and CEO of Swedish Health Services until last year, when the four-hospital Seattle-based system combined operations with Providence. Swedish facilities remained secular under the agreement.

Hochman said he didn't foresee replacing Koster last year when Swedish combined with Providence.

“My assumption when we came in, and I've known John for a long time, was that he'd be here for a while,” Hochman said.

Providence operates hospitals in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington state. Hochman said Providence will listen to inquiries if there's a chance for expansion, but the system won't grow “just for growth's sake.” Under his leadership, Providence will continue to invest in information technology, Hochman said, pointing to the installation of Epic System Corp.'s electronic health-record system at all hospitals. The installation is expected to be completed by year-end.

Population health is a topic of interest for Hochman, who said Providence will continue to explore new care-delivery models, including accountable care organizations. He lauded the system's existing strategic plan, which emphasizes collaboration between clinicians and administration. As a physician administrator, that will continue, Hochman said.

“With 30 years of clinical and healthcare executive leadership experience, we are confident that Dr. Hochman is the right leader to continue our transformational work in the delivery of healthcare,” said Providence board of directors chair Mike Holcomb in a prepared statement (PDF).


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