Gilfillan to leave Trinity Health in 2019
Trinity Health CEO Dr. Richard Gilfillan plans to step down from the helm of the Livonia, Mich.-based system in June 2019. He will be succeeded by Michael Slubowski, who currently serves as Trinity's president and chief operating officer.
Gilfillan cited family considerations as a key reason for leaving.
"I've been commuting for 10 of the 13 years," Gilfillan told Modern Healthcare. He joined Trinity in November 2013 after heading the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, but retained his residence in Washington, D.C. "I commuted to Danville, Pa., when I was with Geisinger Health Plan. The time is right for me to be home with my family."
But Gilfillan isn't calling it quits.
"I don't call this a retirement. I'm not sure what comes next, but my interest in working to improve our healthcare system remains strong and is a motivating factor for me."
Gilfillan is credited with turning Trinity into a national leader both clinically and financially. He was named CEO just a few months into the mega-merger between Catholic Health East and Trinity Health.
"There wasn't a common culture or common operating model. He had to unify the board," Slubowski told Modern Healthcare. "He had to put concepts in place to move beyond fee for service into population health. He's given legs to that in the organization. He's one of the most creative and high-energy people I've worked with."
Slubowski will spend the next six months serving as president and COO, but he is already thinking about what lies ahead for Trinity, especially in an environment where providers need to be more nimble and consumer-focused and where payer mixes are taxed due to increasing reliance on Medicare and Medicaid.
He's focused on three big issues: how to move rapidly to top decile clinical performance and aim for zero harm in episodic care; continue the shift to community health and leverage scale; and learning to create more value for patients and the health system itself. Slubowski suggested that there will be shifts in capital investments to bolster home, virtual and ambulatory care. He also emphasized that the health system will continue a cost-reduction strategy that Gilfillan shepherded. The organization trimmed costs by $1.5 billion over the past four years and expects to take another $300 million out this year.
Trinity's revenue increased 4.1% in fiscal 2018, hitting $18.3 billion.
Both Gifillan and Slubowski said that there are opportunities for Trinity to find new collaborations to continue to reshape the industry. Trinity is part of Civica RX, the generic-drug company formed along with Ascension, Intermountain Healthcare and SSM Health. Gifillan said providers could unite to disrupt other elements of the supply chain, including devices. For his part, Slubowski suggested that Catholic systems in particular can find commonalities around care for underserved populations.
Gifillan told the board about his plans to leave in September. The search process ultimately led them to approve Slubowski on Dec. 5.
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