Schlichting, 59, has led the five-hospital, $4.5 billion not-for-profit Henry Ford system since June 2003 and has been a Henry Ford executive since 1998. She oversaw the system as it underwent a massive financial turnaround, at one point losing $87 million before she took the reins. Henry Ford has since returned to the black, although its margins are still razor thin: The system posted a $480,000 net surplus in 2013.
But Schlichting helped Henry Ford gain national recognition in 2011, when the system won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, one of the nation's highest awards for patient safety, quality and performance. She also changed the dynamics of the system, emphasizing a more racially and ethnically diverse governance structure.
Lassiter, 51, will have his hands full as he gradually takes over Henry Ford, a system with about 23,000 employees compared with Alameda Health System's 4,500. Henry Ford is more than a year removed from a failed merger attempt with Beaumont Health, Royal Oak, Mich. Beaumont has since finalized a new three-system, $3.8 billion merger.
Lassiter has led Alameda Health System, a public health authority, since 2005. Like Schlichting, he helped his system overcome financial difficulties. In fiscal 2013, Alameda posted an $18.8 million operating surplus on more than $617 million in operating revenue, decent figures given that 43% of the organization's patients are on Medicaid. Alameda has nine healthcare facilities, including five hospital campuses, according to the system's website.
Schlichting has been named to Modern Healthcare's 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare list seven times: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Lassiter made Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Minority Healthcare Executives list in 2012.
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