Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (Kan.) Health Services Corp. soon will have a layman as president and chief executive officer. Sister Marie Damian Glatt announced in July she will step down as president of the Roman Catholic hospital system effective Nov. 1.
She will be succeeded by William Murray, who has served as CEO since June 1998. Glatt had been both president and CEO until giving up the latter post in the first phase of a leadership transition.
The system joins the growing number of Catholic healthcare organizations that are passing managerial control from religious leaders to laypeople. When Murray assumes the president's position, the Sisters of Charity will have lay leaders on the board and in senior management.
Seven of the 10 largest Catholic healthcare systems, including the top five, are led by laypeople, system records show.
One of the latest to make such a move was Sisters of Mercy Health System-St. Louis. On July 1 Sister Mary Roch Rocklage stepped aside as CEO, turning over the title to Ron Ashworth, a layman. Rocklage continues as chairwoman of the board.
"We have had fewer and fewer sisters in healthcare and all of our apostolates," said Sister Paulette Krick, spokeswoman for the Sisters of Charity. "We only have one sister who is CEO of a hospital. We haven't had anyone go into healthcare administration in 10 years."
Most of the sisters are involved in social work and local parishes, she said.
Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth operates in four Western states. Its facilities include 10 hospitals with 1,900 staffed beds, four low-income clinics and two nursing homes. It earned net income of $118 million on net patient revenues of $980 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, Krick said. The system has an AA credit rating and ranked 49th in MODERN HEALTHCARE's latest Multi-unit Provider Survey (May 24, p. 40)
Murray, who is Catholic, has 23 years of experience in healthcare. He was senior vice president for the Arizona region of Tenet Healthcare Corp. Before that, he was senior vice president for the western region of OrNda HealthCorp. He was also president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System in Phoenix and Saint Vincent Hospital in Billings, Mont.
Glatt is stepping down, Krick said, because she has achieved most of her goals.
During Glatt's tenure, the system acquired two hospitals: Bethany Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., and Holy Rosary Health Center in Miles City, Mont.
Glatt has been CEO for seven years and has been with the system for 50 years.