Cerner Corp. co-founder, Chairman and CEO Neal Patterson is undergoing cancer treatment, the 66-year-old health information technology mogul announced Monday to clients, shareholders and colleagues in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“I wanted to let you know that, just after the New Year, I was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer,” the Patterson statement said.
“My physician says the type of cancer I have is treatable and curable, and there is no evidence of cancer elsewhere in my body. I feel fine, and I'm surrounded by extraordinarily supportive family, friends, Cerner leaders and Board members. I plan to begin treatment immediately.”
Patterson said the company, founded in 1979 and based in North Kansas City, Mo., is “well-equipped to continue to manage Cerner with our existing leadership structure while I receive treatment."
Patterson said he plans to stay involved in the business, but with less travel and fewer meetings. He called his decision to share the news about his condition " a judgment call," balancing transparency and privacy.
"In reality, it will not be a big change compared to how we run Cerner day to day already,” he said.
Company shares are trending downward on the news, off about 1% to $56.73 per share at deadline. In its third quarter ended Oct. 3, Cerner reported net income of $147.3 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.42 on revenue of $1.1 billion.
Cerner is at war with Epic Systems Corp., Verona, Wis., over the electronic health record market for larger hospitals and health systems. Cerner won a major battle in July 2015 after landing a prized Defense Department contract to supply the 55 hospitals and 600 clinics of the Military Health System with a new health IT system. Cerner partnered with Leidos and Accenture Federal Services on the contract. The deal has an estimated value of $9 billion.