Sutter Health President and CEO Van R. Johnson Announces 2005 Retirement
Johnson’s leadership instrumental to expansion in community access to quality health care services and national leadership in patient safety initiatives
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 13, 2004 - Sutter Health President and CEO Van R. Johnson, who led the development of Sutter into a community-based hospital and physician network of national prominence, announced he will retire from his position on June 1, 2005. The Sutter Health Board of Directors has selected longtime Sutter leader Patrick Fry to succeed Johnson. Fry has served as Sutter's chief operating officer since 2000.
Following his retirement from Sutter Health, Johnson, 60, along with his wife Barbara, will embark on a new career with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Johnson was approached by LDS officials in September and asked to serve as a mission president for the church.
"Van's leadership has been instrumental in helping not only to preserve the not-for-profit, community-based health care model in Northern California, but in expanding access while so many other provider organizations have struggled or closed," said Theodore Saenger, chair of the Sutter Health Board of Directors. "Every single affiliate of Sutter Health has added new programs and services during Van's tenure."
During Johnson's ten years as CEO, Sutter Health emerged as one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit health care networks. Sutter more than doubled in size as freestanding provider organizations sought out compatible system affiliations. While financial challenges led to the closure of more than 40 hospitals and the failure of numerous physician groups in Northern California in recent years, Sutter Health remained financially healthy, embarking on a $5.7 billion initiative to replace and expand much of the region's health care facility infrastructure. Johnson also led an effort that has positioned Sutter Health as a national leader in patient safety. In 2002, Sutter Health began a $50 million investment in high-tech tools that are bringing additional clinical expertise and computerized safety checks to patients' bedsides. Sutter announced in November it is launching one of the nation's first electronic health record systems.
Prior to assuming his current position in 1995, Mr. Johnson served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for Sutter's acute and non-acute facilities as well as services and physician organizations in the Sacramento, Placer and Yolo County region.
Prior to his arrival at Sutter Health in 1985, Johnson served for 13 years in leadership roles at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah. A native of Idaho, Mr. Johnson holds a master's degree in healthcare administration from the University of Minnesota.
Fry, who has served as Sutter's second in command since 2000, has held numerous leadership positions since joining the organization in 1982. "Pat has played a key role in Sutter Health's evolution and operational success, and his unique length, depth and breadth of experience with our network will be invaluable as we move forward," said Sutter Board Chair Saenger. "We're pleased to welcome him to this new role." Saenger added that the smooth transition of leadership was facilitated by a management continuity initiative led by Johnson. Within the Sutter network, leaders throughout the system are expected to create succession plans and to identify and develop emerging leaders.
A resident of Davis, Fry earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Davis and a master's degree in health services administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.