Who: Keith Pitts, 57
New role: Chairman of the Federation of American Hospitals. Pitts replaces David Vandewater, president of Ardent Health Services, as head of the board of directors for the organization representing investor-owned hospitals.
Day job: Pitts is vice chairman of Dallas-based chain Tenet Healthcare Corp. He previously served in a similar role at Vanguard Health Systems in Nashville.
Return engagement: This will be Pitts' third stint as federation chairman. He served one-year terms in 2007 and 2008.
Top of the agenda: Pitts said his most immediate concern is the congressional debate over repealing Medicare's sustainable growth-rate formula for paying doctors. Pitts is worried that hospitals will end up taking a financial hit to avoid big cuts in physician payments. “We continue to think robbing Peter to pay Paul is bad policy,” Pitts said. “We have been used as a piggy bank for that before.”
Waiting on SCOTUS: The federation is also apprehensive about whether the U.S. Supreme Court, in the King v. Burwell case, will strike down subsidies in at least 34 states that haven't established their own insurance exchanges. “Clearly, hospitals would be concerned if there was an adverse decision,” Pitts said. “We believe the intent, at least, was not to select who gets a subsidy and who doesn't get a subsidy.”