U-M Hospital Reappoints CEO

Doug Strong Reappointed as U-M Hospitals & Health Centers CEO

ANN ARBOR — Doug Strong, who has led the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers through ambitious growth and successful navigation of a serious economic downturn, has been reappointed for a second five-year term.  

The University’s Regents voted Thursday afternoon on the recommendation put forth by Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., the executive vice president for medical affairs, and endorsed by University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman. The reappointment will take effect Aug. 1.

“Our health system has been extremely fortunate to have Doug as part of its team for the past 13 years and as CEO of the Hospitals and Health Centers for the last five,” says Pescovitz. “His outstanding leadership and strategic vision have helped the Hospitals and Health Centers remain financially stable despite challenging economic times and unpredictable changes in the health care industry. Additionally, his steadfast dedication to improving quality and safety has led to consistent national recognition of UMHHC as a provider of high quality patient care services.

Pescovitz is CEO of the U-M Health System, which includes the UMHHC, the U-M Medical School, and administrative units.

“The UMHS is one of the few academic medical centers in the nation that is making rapid simultaneous progress in research, education, and patient care.  I am proud to be a part of this excellence,” says Strong, who has been director and CEO of UMHHC since Aug. 2006, and served as interim CEO for 10 months before that. His new title will be chief executive officer of the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers.

UMHHC encompasses the staff, facilities and operations of the three U-M hospitals – University, C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s – as well as staff and facilities of 40 U-M health center locations across southeast Michigan, and a large home care operation. UMHHC partners closely with the Faculty Group Practice of the U-M Medical School, which manages health center operations and includes the physicians who care for all U-M patients.

UMHHC has an annual operating budget of $2.1 billion, and recently ended its 15th straight fiscal year with a positive margin and strong growth in patient visits and hospital admissions. It has also reached all-time high patient satisfaction ratings.

Such financial strength and patient demand, and the resulting excellent bond rating that UMHHC has earned, have fueled major growth projects in the past five years. 

These include a new 1.1 million square-foot children’s and women’s hospital and outpatient facility that will open this November and new buildings for the U-M Depression, Cardiovascular, and Kellogg Eye centers that opened in 2006, 2007 and 2010, respectively.

He has also overseen major investments in new medical imaging technology, and multiple hospital unit expansions including intensive care, observation units and inpatient psychiatry. Now underway are an expansion of the emergency department that will open this winter; and implementation of a computer-based, UMHS-wide clinical and billing system called MiChart that will begin a phased roll out soon.

At the same time, Strong has helped spearhead an effort by UMHS to form partnerships and alliances across the state. For instance, he was a leader in the 2010 creation of the Pennant Health Alliance that provides independent hospitals across the state with access to administrative and computing support and purchasing networks.

Strong is also a key supporter of the Washtenaw Health Initiative, a newly formed volunteer network that will help the county better serve Medicaid recipients and the uninsured now and after the advent of health care coverage made possible by the federal health care reform law. WHI may serve as a model for counties and safety-net providers nationwide.

“I personally look forward to five more years working with Doug and other Health System leaders to ensure that the University of Michigan continues to improve itself and the health of individuals, families and communities in Michigan and beyond,” says Pescovitz. 

She notes that Strong’s recent election as chair of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association Board of Trustees is a strong testament to his significant contributions to health care. In addition to his work with MHA, Strong is active in the University Health System Consortium and the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems.

During Strong’s time as a top leader, UMHHC has been recognized nationally for quality and safety, including 15 years on the US News& World Report national Honor Roll of Best Hospitals; recognition on lists such as the US News Top Children’s Hospitals, the Leapfrog Group’s Top Hospitals for patient safety, the Consumers Choice list from the National Research Corporation, and the Consumers’ Checkbook/AARP list of top hospitals; and repeated recognition for environmental leadership from Practice Greenhealth. In 2008, UMHHC received special recognition as part of the 2008 American Hospital Association’s McKesson Quest for Quality competition.

This year, under Strong’s leadership, UMHS launched a Quality & Safety website that makes UMHHC among the most “transparent” in the country. Located at www.uofmhealth.org/quality, the site gives anyone access to detailed data about how well U-M performs on many measures of care quality, appropriateness and safety.

Strong earned an M.B.A. in health care administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he also held several positions at the School of Medicine. He joined U-M in 1998 as associate vice president for health system finance and strategy, and became chief financial officer in 2001. 

Before coming to Ann Arbor, he served as chief financial officer and associate dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine and the Biological Sciences Division at the University of Chicago, associate dean for administration and finance at the School of Medicine of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and associate dean of planning and operations at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.