Thomas Litz, a veteran of nearly three decades in healthcare administration, has been hired to help complete a turnaround at troubled Birmingham, Ala.-based Carraway Methodist Health Systems, which has been run since mid-2002 by an outside hospital-management company.
Litz, 57, has been working as a consultant since his resignation in August 2001 as president and CEO of Rochester, N.Y.-based ViaHealth; his departure came about three months after that system's controversial decision to close 269-bed Genesee Hospital in Rochester. He will begin his new job March 29.
"I think I was hired because of my turnaround experience," Litz says. "I think I presented a good balance between turnaround experience and strategic planning and working with boards."
As head of ViaHealth for a little more than a year, Litz improved operating results by $53 million, officials say. He took considerable heat, however, for closing the 112-year-old Genesee facility because of financial problems, and resigned after acknowledging that his departure was best for the community.
Since then, Litz says, he's been "doing a little consulting and looking for the right job."
Before taking the helm at ViaHealth, Litz-a lawyer who has a master's degree in hospital and health services administration from Cornell University-spent eight years as president and CEO of CentraState Healthcare System, Freehold, N.J. He was senior vice president and COO at West Jersey Health System, Camden, N.J., for six years before his appointment at CentraState.
"He emerged as the candidate with the best combination of skills to build on the success we have had over the last two years," says Robert Carraway, chairman of the Birmingham system's board.
Carraway Methodist, which has suffered several years of multimillion-dollar losses, is expected to break even in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, Litz says. The system sold two rural hospitals about a year ago to LifePoint Hospitals for about $22 million. Last week, the system received a $23 million line of credit and completed a debt restructuring to help fund a $55 million capital budget as part of a five-year growth plan.
"I think Carraway is on the threshold of some great things," Litz says. "There's a great opportunity, now that the system has stabilized. I consider it a tremendous opportunity both professionally and personally."
The 330-bed flagship Carraway Methodist Medical Center has been shepherded since May 2002 by Cambio Health Solutions, Brentwood, Tenn. Cambio will continue to work with the hospital on its five-year plan, officials say.
Steve Blaine, Cambio's vice president and the hospital's interim CEO, says Litz "brings strategic insight and expertise in leading healthcare organizations through operational turnarounds."