Chutes & Ladders—Appalachian Regional Healthcare's first female CEO, president; Verma's new board roles

Graphic of workers with parachutes and ladders
(Lia Shaked)

Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please submit the good news—or the bad—from your shop, and we will feature it here at the end of each week. 

Appalachian Regional Healthcare

Hollie Harris Phillips
(Appalachian Regional

Hollie Harris Phillips is stepping up as the new president and CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare, a not-for-profit system employing around 6,000 people across 13 hospitals and other additional practices.

Phillips has been with the health system since joining in 2002 as director of planning and most recently held the role of vice president for corporate strategy and chief strategy officer. Across her tenure, she’s guided strategic planning, marketing, business development, government relations and other efforts within the organization.

She will be the first woman to hold Appalachian’s top role and replaces retiring president and CEO Joe Grossman in May.

Prior to her time at Appalachian, Phillips held a manager role at LifePoint Hospitals. She holds a master’s in health administration from the Medical College of Virginia.

Monogram Health, 100Plus

Seema Verma

Former administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Seema Verma has recently added a slew of board positions to her résumé.

Monday, Monogram Health, a managed services company focused on chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease, announced Verma would be joining its board as an independent director. Monogram highlighted CMS programs to increase kidney patients' access to coordinated care that were launched under the former policymaker’s tenure and also noted her receipt of the President’s Medal from the American Society of Nephrology in 2019.

Then on Wednesday, remote patient monitoring platform 100Plus announced that Verma would be one of four new members joining its advisory board, sitting alongside host of "The Dr. Oz Show," Mehmet Oz, M.D.; former Blue Shield California CEO Cora Tellez; former UnitedHealthcare, Optum and Kaiser Permanente data executive Fawad Butt; and former Anthem executive Jimmy Lee.

These appointments come just a few weeks after Verma joined the board of Lumeris, a value-based care managed services operator that works with health systems and providers.

Big Ass Fans

A headshot of Robert Redfield
Robert Redfield, M.D.

On a similar note, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, M.D., has joined the health advisory and safety board of Big Ass Fans, the maker of a controversial air purification technology the company says can eliminate COVID-19 and other pathogens.

The company’s products take the form of ceiling and floor fans outfitted with ultraviolet lights or bipolar ionization and are intended for industrial and commercial applications. 

Redfield led the top public health agency in the U.S. from March 2018 to January 2021 and played a key role in the Trump administration’s COVID-19 task force. He was well known for his decades of clinical research on chronic human viral infections and infectious diseases, particularly HIV, and held leadership roles at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

RWJBarnabas Health

Bill Arnold
(RWJBarnabas Health)

Bill Arnold has been announced as the new president and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health’s Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

This is an additive role for Arnold, who will continue his responsibilities as president of the system’s Southern Region that consists of Monmouth Medical Center, Monmouth South and Community Medical Center.  

Arnold joined the system back in 1994 and has held a slew of leadership roles in the time since. He also serves on the governing board of the New Jersey Hospital Association and currently holds board membership positions with the Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Tinton Falls, VNA Health Group, Boys & Girls Club of Asbury Park and the Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation.

> Tech-enabled insurance company Oscar Health has tapped Okiki Louis, M.D., as the next president of Oscar Medical Group, a collection of physician-owned practices that provides services to Oscar plan members. She will be succeeding Neil Parikh, M.D., who became the physician and nurse practitioner group’s head in 2019 and will be staying on until this fall.

> Jennifer White has been removed as interim CEO of Eleanor Slater Hospital, which has seen numerous shake-ups across its executive team over the last several months, The Providence Journal reports.

> Eli Lilly has chosen Diogo Rau, formerly of Apple, to replace the retiring Aarti Shah as chief digital and information officer starting in mid-May.

> Demetrios Kouzoukas, former director of the Center for Medicare and principal deputy administrator for CMS, has joined health tech company Clover Health’s board of directors and will also serve as a member of its audit committee.

> Meera Garcia, M.D., has been appointed chief medical officer of Advantia Health, a national provider specializing in women’s healthcare.

> In addition to its new board members, 100Plus has also announced Erick DeOliveira as its new chief financial officer and Meghan Sinclair as its senior vice president of product and operations.

> Coordinated care technology company WellSky has tapped Akash Raj as its chief financial officer, effective immediately.