The Rev. Michael Place will step down in February as president and chief executive officer at the Catholic Health Association, St. Louis, after seven years in the position. Place said in a news release that he was resigning because the organization would implement a new strategic plan for 2006 through 2008, a process that "deserved continuity of leadership." "While there is never a good time to move on, now is the right time for me," Place said in the release. The CHA board of trustees has not yet named an interim replacement, CHA spokesman Fred Caesar said. Caesar said the CHA does not release officials' ages as a matter of policy.
Place spent 14 years shaping healthcare policy at the Archdiocese of Chicago before taking the helm at the CHA in 1998. During Place's tenure at the CHA, the association championed expanding healthcare benefit coverage to the uninsured and, in recent years, sought to define a unique mission for Catholic providers amid scrutiny of not-for-profit providers' tax-exempt status. Place earned $833,109 in salary, benefits and expenses in 2003, a 12.7% increase over 2002. He ranked seventh on a Modern Healthcare listing, using fiscal 2002 data, of the highest-compensated healthcare association executives. The CHA represents 2,000 Roman Catholic healthcare organizations, including 617 hospitals, and reported $1 million in profits on $18.9 million in revenue in its last fiscal year, ended June 30. -- by Melanie Evans