Gilfillan, 64, stepped down in June from the helm of the CMS Innovation Center after three years in the position. Before helping launch the Innovation Center as its first executive director, Gilfillan was CEO of Geisinger Health Plan, the insurance arm of the Danville, Pa.-based health system.
Gilfillan said in an interview Tuesday that he was drawn to the job by its strong regional ministries and financial standing and that he felt he could make more of an impact in the private sector rather than working at the CMS as healthcare transitions to emerging delivery models.
He also said he was eager to aid the Roman Catholic system in its work with underserved and minority populations.
“I'm going to first work on being deeply engaged, as one of our board members said, 'to hit the ground listening,' and understand more about CHE Trinity, to understand more about the regional ministries and more about Catholic healthcare and working with the teams,” he said.
The merged system, based in Livonia, Mich., has combined revenue of $13.3 billion, employs 4,100 physicians and spans 20 states with 82 hospitals coast-to-coast, concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast. Officials initially named then-Trinity President and CEO Joseph Swedish as head of the new entity. However, Swedish left the system in March to succeed Angela Braly as CEO of insurance giant WellPoint.
CHE Trinity did not identify what role Persichilli—who was CHE's president and CEO before the merger—would have after Gilfillan is on board.
“We are excited Rick will join the CHE Trinity Health team, and we will work together to ensure a smooth transition,” Persichilli said in the release.
Moody's Investors Service this month revised the system's outlook to negative, citing a lack of permanent leadership among a number of challenges facing the combined organization.
Standard & Poor’s, though, noted in October that the merger would allow the system “to respond to the inherent challenges in the healthcare sector,” although the ratings agency also noted the challenges of integrating two large and diverse organizations.
The news of Gilfillan’s hiring affirmed S&P’s confidence. “Given CHE Trinity Health’s prominence in the market, we were very comfortable that they would make a selection from a pool of solid candidates and bring this person on board with an appropriate time for transition, so this was an expected occurred and factored into our earlier rating decision,” said Kevin Holloran, director, U.S. public finance for S&P. “We expect the new CEO to get up to speed in short order and look forward to working with the CHE Trinity Health management team in the future.”
Follow Ashok Selvam on Twitter: @MH_aselvam