David Hefner to become president of University of Chicago Medical Center

David Hefner to become president of University of Chicago Medical Center

November 2, 2006

David S. Hefner, an experienced health system executive and national academic medical center consultant, has been appointed President of the University of Chicago Medical Center. He will begin serving on a part-time basis on November 1, 2006, while he completes his transition from current client responsibilities, and become full time December 1.

Hefner most recently served for four years, from 2002 to 2006, as the executive director and chief operating officer for Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, an integrated health system with a 499-bed adult and children's hospital and a 600-physician clinical practice.

As a consultant, Hefner was the co-architect of "mission-based management," a codified set of principles, tools and management practices that has provided medical schools and teaching hospitals with vital insights about their strategic imperatives and day-to-day operations while preparing for dramatic growth and organizational change.

Hefner, 52, succeeds Michael Riordan, who was President of the University of Chicago Hospitals from July 1, 2001, until June 30, 2006. Riordan left in July and is now President of the Greenville Hospital System in Greenville, South Carolina.

"David Hefner was selected for his long and impressive track record and wide range of experience in health care administration," said Jim Madara, MD, Chief Executive Officer of the University of Chicago Medical Center, Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences and University Vice President for Medical Affairs. "He has helped to run a large academic medical center, provided valuable guidance for health systems nationwide and demonstrated a talent for working closely with physicians and staff to improve operations, increase quality and patient satisfaction, and contain health care costs."

"David emerged early in the process as the leading candidate," said Medical Center Board Chair Valerie Jarrett. "He is widely known for his ability to produce a rapid and beneficial impact on clinical operations, but he is also respected for his ability to collaborate productively with both clinical and research faculty. He has made dramatic improvements at several leading hospitals and health systems as both a hands-on leader and as a consultant."

As executive director and chief operating officer at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hefner helped engineer a rapid financial turnaround, guiding the institution from a predicted net loss of $24 million to a $7 million gain in 2003. By the time he left, in March 2006, the hospital was considered a "top-tier performer" by the University HealthSystem Consortium in cost and operating efficiencies, clinical quality and overall patient satisfaction.

Among his many accomplishments was the implementation of one of the country's leading electronic health record systems with computerized provider order entry (CPOE). Hospitals and Health Networks magazine designated Penn State Hershey Medical Center one of the "Top-10 Most-Wired" hospitals in the nation and Health Imaging & IT magazine twice named the Medical Center among the nation's "Most Connected" health care facilities. His work was also recognized in April by Solucient Top Hospitals, which named Penn State one of their "Top-15 Teaching Hospitals" for five consecutive years of sustained high performance.

"David is an outstanding leader," said Darrell G. Kirch, MD, President of the Association of American Medical Colleges and former Dean and CEO of Penn State Hershey Medical Center. "He is energetic, imaginative and effective. At Penn State, he was especially tenacious in his efforts to enhance our quality of care, service to our customers and stewardship of our precious resources."

Hefner and Kirch teamed with the department chairs, senior leaders, Penn State University, and industry to create a groundbreaking, consumer-driven health plan for the 12,000 medical center employees and dependents. The plan--designed to increase use of preventive services, allow employees to save money toward future health care expenses and reward employees and families for healthy choices--now serves as a demonstration pilot for other large, self-insured employer groups across the nation.

Hefner earned his bachelor's degree in business administration with a computer science minor in 1976 from the University of Texas at Austin and completed his master's degree in public administration-health services in 1982 at Brigham Young University. In 1978, he founded Consulting Concepts, Inc., a management-consulting firm that advised large physician-group practice operations. He served as its managing partner until its merger with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in 1994. As a senior partner with CSC, he served as a consultant to multiple academic medical centers on information technology, affiliation agreements, financial turnarounds, operations and sustainable process improvement.

"Having consulted for more than 25 years, I've become knowledgeable about many different health systems," Hefner said, "and the opportunity to take on a leadership role at the University of Chicago Medical Center, one of the world's leading institutions, is an honor and privilege as well as a huge responsibility. I look forward to working closely with Dr. Madara, the University of Chicago's renowned physicians and scientists, the senior leadership team, and staff to create the most highly integrated and efficient academic health center that continues to be relevant in the community and serves as a leading-edge example for the country."

Hefner and his wife, Joan, will soon relocate to the area. He has two grown married daughters, with children, living in Northern California. For relaxation, he swims competitively and is ranked nationally in the top ten of his age group.