Thomas Zenty III, who has been CEO of University Hospitals for nearly 18 years, announced Tuesday he plans to retire in January 2021.
Under his leadership, the Cleveland-based health system has grown from three hospitals to 18 with nearly 28,000 caregivers.
The board expects to announce Zenty's successor before year-end. Zenty said the board is looking internally for a replacement. The succession process began about three years ago.
In 2018, UH reported $4.1 billion in operating revenue and $133.4 million in operating income.
One part of the system's strategy has been to "move care as close to where patients live," Zenty said. The system treats about 1.3 million patients per year and about 3,500 patients are treated daily at their homes.
In addition to growth, Zenty led University Hospitals' expansion to new technologies such as the opening in 2016 of a proton therapy center. The system also has a partnership with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in which nearly 1,200 residents and fellows are trained at UH. The institutions also partner together in research. UH currently has 2,500 active clinical research trials.
Zenty said he expects future challenges for his successor and other health system CEOs are the shifts toward consumerism and value-based care.
During his tenure, UH has participated in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and in bundled payments. Zenty said the ACO intends to transition to downside risk.
And like many providers, Zenty said UH expects to see a decline in inpatient admissions this year as it continues to work on keeping patients out of the hospital. While that will translate to millions in lost revenue, he said it's what's best for the patient.
"This move from volume to value I think will be the most important wave we are going to have to pay close attention to in our industry," he said. "I know it's been slow to materialize but I think it's the right thing to do."
Zenty was recognized on Modern Healthcare's 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare list in 2018.