Sutter Health Board Chair Honored by California's Leading Health Provider Association
Sacramento, Calif., January 23, 2003 - Dennis O’Connell, three-year chairperson of the Sutter Health board of directors, has received the 2002 Leadership in Governance Award from the California Healthcare Association, which represents the interests of nearly 500 hospital and health system members statewide. The award recognizes O'Connell for exemplary service as an active and informed trustee of Sutter Health, a not-for-profit network of community-based health care providers throughout Northern California.
"As health care organizations become more complex to govern, it's crucial that their trustees actively engage themselves in the decision-making process and meet the challenge to anticipate future demands on the health care marketplace," noted California Healthcare Association President Duane Dauner. "This year's Leadership in Governance Award recognizes Dennis for meeting the challenge and showing an outstanding commitment to his greater Northern California community."
Under O'Connell's guidance, Sutter Health has worked to become a recognized leader as a not-for-profit organization that exists to serve and advocate the public's best interests. His fiscal stewardship has helped Sutter successfully negotiate an adverse financial climate facing all California health care providers. While difficult financial challenges have caused more than 100 California hospitals to close since 1990, Sutter Health during the same period has built or replaced more than a dozen hospitals and major patient care centers, improved regional access to physicians, introduced dozens of new services and expanded access to patients. In just the past five years, Sutter Health invested well over $1 billion in services for the poor and in programs and services that benefit local communities.
"Through his thoughtful leadership, Dennis has greatly contributed to our ability to preserve community-based health care in hundreds of communities throughout Northern California," said Sutter Health President and Chief Executive Officer Van R. Johnson. "Not content to just lead from the boardroom, Dennis visits the communities we serve, observes the programs we offer, spends time with our patients, employees and lawmakers, and truly dedicates himself to helping us fulfill our not-for-profit mission. He is a leader among leaders," said Johnson.
O'Connell served as chair of the Sutter Health board of directors from January 2000 through December 2002. A member of the Sutter board since the 1996 merger of Bay Area-based California Healthcare System (CHS) and Sutter, he previously served on and chaired the governing board of Marin General Hospital, which was part of the former CHS. A graduate of California State University, Chico, O'Connell worked for the Bechtel Corporation before becoming an independent investor in businesses ranging from construction to manufacturing. He is a second-generation community health care leader whose father, John O'Connell, served on the Marin General Hospital District Board of Directors and helped to lead a local bond initiative that paved the way for the creation of Marin General Hospital.
Sutter Health is one of the nation's leading not-for-profit networks of community-based health care providers, delivering high-quality care in more than 100 Northern California communities. It is also the regional leader in infant deliveries, neonatology, orthopedics, pediatrics and cancer care services. Sutter Health supports more than two dozen locally run acute care hospitals as well as physician organizations; medical research facilities; regionwide home health, hospice and occupational health networks; and long-term care centers.