Mark Frey is stepping down as CEO of Amita Health, a joint venture of Ascension's Alexian Brothers Health System, Adventist Midwest Health and Presence Health.
Before Amita was created in 2015, Frey was CEO of Alexian Brothers Health System, which in 2012 became part of Ascension, one of the largest Catholic nonprofit health systems in the nation.
"We thank Mark Frey for his many years of service and wish him continued blessings in future endeavors," the Lisle-based, 19-hospital system said in a statement.
Karen Springer, executive vice president of performance optimization and nursing operations for Ascension, and Eddie Soler, executive vice president of finance for AdventHealth, will serve as interim co-CEOs as the organization searches for a new leader, the statement says.
Frey last year was tasked with the integration of 10-hospital Presence. The Chicago-based chain was absorbed by Amita after being acquired by St. Louis-based Ascension in March 2018. Today Amita is the largest hospital network in Illinois, with 19 hospitals, more than 230 outpatient sites and 900 employed health care providers.
Frey was working to turn the historically hospital-centric system into an organization focused on preventive, outpatient and virtual care.
Hospitals will still be "amazing workshops where we do unbelievable things, but . . . for the vast majority of patients, the focus has got to be on keeping you out of our hospitals," he said late last year.
As part of that transformation, Amita has doubled down on so-called service rationalization. The process involves discontinuing or centralizing certain service lines to improve care and save money on surgical equipment, space and staff.
Earlier this week Amita said it plans to close behavioral health units at St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin and Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village. It also planned to stop offering labor and delivery services at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, comprehensive physical rehabilitation at St. Joseph Hospital in Lakeview, and open-heart surgery programs at St. Francis Hospital and Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Medical Center in Chicago.
In addition to service line changes, Amita has had several hospital CEOs come and go in the last few months, including the departures of Robert Erickson of St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet and Steve Province of Adventist Medical Center in La Grange.
Frey could not immediately be reached for comment.