Chutes & Ladders—Mercy names its next president, CEO; NIH director to step down

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.


Steve Mackin

Steve Mackin has been chosen to replace Lynn Britton as president and CEO of Mercy, the St. Louis-based system announced this week.

Mackin is currently Mercy’s executive vice president and had held roles as the president of its east region, president of Mercy Hospital St. Louis and senior executive of business line development since joining up in 2017.

Prior to that, he held multiple leadership positions at Cancer Treatment Centers of America over the course of nearly 20 years, ultimately departing as its chief operating officer and interim president.  

Lynn Britton

Britton has helmed the 40-hospital system since 2009. His tenure has included plenty of excitement, ranging from the loss of a hospital to an EF5 tornado to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The executive is also credited with supporting the system’s early investments into an integrated electronic health record, standing up a successful supply chain operation and cutting the ribbon on the world’s first virtual care center.

Mackin will be stepping into the new roles April 1, 2022, while the outgoing Britton will move into a new position as the executive chair of Mercy’s board. The current board chair, David C. Pratt, will remain as a board member.

Acadia Healthcare

Debbie Osteen
(Acadia Healthcare)

Debbie Osteen will retire from her role as the CEO of Acadia Healthcare Jan. 31, 2022, the behavioral health services provider announced.

She joined Acadia in late 2018 with more than three decades of behavioral health care industry experience in her back pocket.

Her time in the hot seat was characterized by the execution of a strategic growth plan. Along with divesting from its U.K. operations, the company acquired 14 facilities, struck nine joint ventures with healthcare systems and added more than 1,000 beds to its existing facilities.

Acadia’s board also noted in the announcement that the company’s stock price jumped roughly 125% during Osteen’s time, equivalent to $3.3 billion in additional value for stockholders.

Osteen will remain on Acadia’s board and support a smooth transition before her departure. The company’s board said it is working with a national recruiting firm to find its next chief executive.

National Institutes of Health

NIH Director Francis Collins
Francis Collins, M.D.
(National Institutes of Health)

Francis Collins, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced that he will be stepping down from his position after more than 12 years in the public research agency’s highest role.

Collins is the agency’s 16th director and held the role longer than any of his presidentially appointed predecessors, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

His tenure will end before the end of this year; afterward, he will return to his research laboratory at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), which is currently investigating Type 2 diabetes and Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome research.

Collins is a physician and geneticist who played a key role in the Human Genome Project during his 15-year run leading the NHGRI.

He was appointed NIH director by President Barack Obama in 2009. The research agency’s budget has grown 38% from $30 billion in 2009 to $41.3 billion in 2021 during his time at the helm. 

An interim NIH director or successor to Collins has not been announced.

Summit Health

Jeff Alter
(Summit Health)

Jeff Alter logged his first days as the new CEO of Summit Health, a 200-location medical practice formed by the merger of Summit Medical Group and CityMD.

He’s coming off a handful of leadership positions across national payers.

At Anthem, his prior employer, he served as the executive vice present of Anthem Health Solutions as well as president of its pharmacy business, IngenioRx. Along with a stint as the founder and president of a consulting firm, he spent 15 years at UnitedHealthcare and ultimately served as the CEO of its commercial group.

Alter is a current board member of Summit Health, having been around since the CityMD days, and also holds positions on the boards for Anomaly, St. John’s University, Progenity and the Long Island Association.

He is succeeding Jeffrey Le Benger, M.D., who has moved into an executive chairman position on Summit’s board.

> Anthem announced three changes to its senior leadership team effective Oct. 5: Pete Haytaian as executive vice president and president of diversified business and IngenioRx, Morgan Kendrick as executive vice president and president of the commercial and specialty business division and Rajeev Ronanki as president of digital platforms.

> Commure, a healthcare ecosystem technology company, has appointed Ashwini Zenooz, M.D., as CEO.

> Virta Health, a diabetes treatment startup, has named Kevin Kumler as president of U.S. business, Jamie Anderson as general counsel, Marianne Borenstein as vice president of customer success and Yvonne Hao as a member of the board.

> Capital Rx, a prescription drug pricing and services platform, has brought on Ari Fischel as chief financial officer.

> Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has promoted its current chief operating officer Steve Mavis, M.D., as its next CEO, effective Nov. 22.

> Well Health, a patient communications software company, has named Isabelle Meyer Stapf as its senior vice president of product.

> Gundersen Health System has tapped Heather Schimmers as its new chief operating officer and chief nursing officer.

> H1, maker of a healthcare professional information platform, has brought on Traunza Adams as its chief people officer.

> St. Mary’s Healthcare in New York has appointed Keith Waters as chief financial officer and vice president of finance.

> Walmart has added Andrea Marks to its health and wellness team as vice president of clinical performance.

> Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, part of HCA Healthcare, has named Keisha Bickham as its new chief operating officer.

> Cone Health has tapped Michelle Adamolekun as its new chief people and culture officer.

> Nava, a healthcare benefits brokerage, added three names to its healthcare and benefits advisory board: Todd Bisping, Tracy Desmond and Ellen Meza.