Muller to step down July 1 as CEO of University of Chicago Hospitals

Muller to step down July 1 as CEO of University of Chicago Hospitals

March 12, 2001

Ralph W. Muller, President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System, today announced his intention of stepping down on July 1, 2001. He has led the Hospitals for more than 16 years, since January of 1985. He has been the only president of the Hospitals since they first became a separate corporation, distinct from the University, in 1986.

Under Muller's leadership, the Hospitals have been regularly listed as one of the top medical centers in the country. In the past several years he has also become increasingly active and influential at the national level in the ongoing debates concerning health care policy, medical education, Medicare reform and the financial underpinnings of the nation's teaching hospitals.

After 16 years as head of the Hospitals and 21 years connected with the University, Muller said he is "eager for another career challenge." He announced his plans to ensure a smooth and orderly transition process.

"It is hard for those of us who have worked with him to imagine the University of Chicago Hospitals without Ralph," said Paula Wolff, chairman of the Hospitals' board of trustees. "His vision, dedication and compassion have been crucial components of the institution's remarkable success and have had a major impact not just on the Hospitals but on health care delivery throughout Chicago and the nation. We will miss him enormously."

"Ralph Muller has been the tireless servant of both the University and the Hospitals for many years," said Don Michael Randel, president of the University of Chicago. "In the course of these years, he has assumed very considerable national prominence as a leader in health care policy. For this and much else, his many colleagues and friends can only be grateful. The nation will doubtless continue to benefit from his leadership and all of us wish him well."

"Despite the many rewards of leading the Hospitals, I want to take on at least one more new challenge in my career," explained Muller.

In late summer, Muller will join the Health Care Policy Programme at the King's Fund, an internationally known health care policy institute in London.

Ralph Muller, 55, came to the University of Chicago as budget director in 1980. In 1985 he was named chief executive officer of the University of Chicago Hospitals. In 1986, he directed its separation from the University of Chicago into a new corporation.

According to Wolff, the Hospitals have seen dramatic growth since 1985. Overall patient activity has increased by more than 50 percent with rising patient satisfaction levels. At the same time the Hospitals' net worth has increased by a factor of five. It now has the largest revenue base of any hospital in the city.

Employment at the Hospitals has grown along with clinical activity, providing 1,000 new jobs since 1985.

The Hospitals' complex has also greatly expanded with construction of several new facilities, including the award-winning, 500,000-square-foot Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine in 1996. Construction of the $130 million University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, a special interest of Muller's, will begin this summer.

Additional achievements include:

The creation in 1992 of the University of Chicago Hospitals Academy, an in-house center for employee training that has become a national model for staff education. Hospitals staff have enrolled in more than 30,000 classes per year.
More than $100 million of contributions from the Hospitals to enhance the academic mission of the University through the Academic Renewal Fund, which supports research and teaching in the Biological Sciences Division.
Increased understanding and awareness on the part of local, state and federal government, of the central role that academic medical centers play in the health care system of the entire nation and increasing government funding for under-served populations.

In addition to serving as President of the Hospitals and Health System, Muller served as chairman (1999-2000) of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the primary organization representing the 141 accredited U.S. and Canadian medical schools and the 400 major teaching hospitals. He has also served as head of the Council of Teaching Hospitals (1997-98) and is currently the vice-chairman of the board of the University Health System Consortium. He has served as chairman of the board of trustees for the National Opinion Research Corporation, an affiliate of the University of Chicago, since 1989.

"The thing I am most proud of," wrote Muller in a letter to Hospitals staff, "is the way that all of us have learned that the success of the entire enterprise rests on our ability to provide superior care--expressed not only in medical excellence, but in all our interactions, large and small, with every patient."