Warner Thomas is president and CEO of Sutter Health, a not-for-profit integrated health system headquartered in Northern California that cares for more than 3.5 million patients in one of the most diverse and innovative regions of the country.
In his role, Thomas leads more than 53,000 employees, 12,000 physicians and 2,000 advance practice clinicians in Sutter Health’s nationally recognized integrated delivery system of hospitals, outpatient care and surgery centers, home health and hospice care, laboratory and pharmacy services, research facilities and Sutter’s Institute for Advancing Health Equity.
A dynamic and purpose-driven leader, Thomas has demonstrated the capability to navigate the healthcare landscape at every level — from outstanding patient care to health equity to organizational strategy to public policy at both the state and national levels. At Sutter, he is leading the organization’s bold new long-term strategy that aims to significantly expand patient access to care and strengthen collaboration and partnerships—especially with physicians—to position Sutter Health as the premier health system in the highly competitive Northern California region.
In just the last year, Sutter’s clinical teams have been recognized for quality care by premier national organizations like The Joint Commission, American Heart Association, U.S. News & World Report, Healthgrades, Leapfrog and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That recognition spans multiple segments of care, including hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, medical groups and specific service lines like stroke and maternity care.
Thomas, who has over 30 years’ experience in healthcare, took the reins at Sutter Health in late November 2022 after serving for 10 years as president and CEO of Ochsner Health, Louisiana’s largest healthcare provider, employer and educator of medical professionals. At Ochsner he led a partnership strategy with physicians, health plans, technology companies and others to expand the system’s physician network and care services, enhance digital health capabilities and technology integration, and improve health outcomes with a focus on population health equitable care. Prior to becoming CEO, Thomas was Ochsner Health’s president and chief operating officer from 1998-2012.
He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He previously served as a member of the American Hospital Association (AHA) Board of Trustees and has served as Chairman of AHA’s Health Systems Governing Council. He also previously served on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to advise Congress on issues affecting Medicare. Thomas is a past member of both the Board of the American Medical Group Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges Advisory Panel for Health Care and Council of Teaching Hospitals. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Council.
Thomas was recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare of 2023. Becker’s Hospital Review named him to its list of 60 Health System CEO Influencers 2023, and its Great Healthcare Leaders to Know 2023. He is a recipient of the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award and the Anti-Defamation League 2018 A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award. He also was named a Glassdoor Top CEO, Ernst & Young’s 2019 Entrepreneur Of The Year® in the Healthcare & Related Services category for the Gulf Coast Area, and the 2017 CEO of the Year by Biz New Orleans magazine.
He received an undergraduate degree in accounting and computer information systems from New Hampshire College in Manchester, N.H., and a Master of Business Administration degree in 1994 from Boston University Graduate School of Management. He is also a certified public accountant.