Chutes & Ladders—Sutter Health president, CEO to retire; Joint Commission taps HCA's Perlin for top spot

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.

Sutter Health

Sarah Krevans
(Sutter Health)

Sarah Krevans, president and CEO of Sutter Health system, has announced plans to retire during the early part of 2022.

She took the reins in 2016 after serving as the integrated nonprofit system’s chief operating officer as well as its regional executive officer and president of the Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region.

She succeeded Patrick Fry, who had held the top role for roughly 11 years, and began shortly after Sutter was hit with a hefty class action case that, ultimately, cost the system $575 million.

The departure announcement credits Krevans’ role in Sutter’s affordability, diversity, equity, quality and innovation initiatives. It also pointed to the increased adoption of virtual care and mental health services under her pandemic-era watch.

Sarah was with Sutter for a total of 22 years and was the first woman to lead the system. Sutter said she will be devoting more time to her ongoing community and philanthropic efforts once retired.

Cigna Corporation

Tim Wentworth

Tim Wentworth will be handing over the CEO chair at Evernorth to Eric Palmer, Cigna announced Thursday morning.

Wentworth is set to retire at the end of 2021. He had joined Cigna as part of the Express Scripts acquisition as the pharmacy benefit manager’s president and CEO. Prior to that, he had led employer and key accounts at Medco, which had also merged with Express Scripts in 2021.

Palmer is currently the president and chief operating officer of Evernorth and is credited with supporting the group’s launch. He first joined Cigna in 1998 and will step into the new role Jan. 1, 2022.

The top-level move was accompanied by a widespread executive shuffle at the insurer that it said would “accelerate growth” across the enterprise.

Eric Palmer

This included the promotion of Paul Sanford to executive vice president of operations, a role expansion for Noelle Eder to executive vice president and global chief information officer and a role expansion for Everett Nevilla to executive vice president of strategy, corporate development and solutions at Cigna.

Further, retirements were announced for Matt Manders, president of government and solutions at Cigna, and Steve Miller, M.D., chief clinical officer. Like Wentworth, they played a “critical role” in the Cigna-Express Scripts merger and are set to depart at the end of the year, the company said.

The Joint Commission

Jonathan B. Perlin, M.D.
(The Joint Commission)

Jonathan B. Perlin, M.D., has been named the next CEO and president of The Joint Commission, effective March 1, 2022.

Perlin currently serves as the president for clinical operations and chief medical officer of the gargantuan HCA Healthcare, where he heads a team of clinicians and data scientists to hammer out clinical policies and data analysis tools. While there, he and his team received the 2019 John Eisenberg Award for National Innovation for improving sepsis detection and survival.

Perlin also held the role of undersecretary for health at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He spearheaded early EHR implementation quality performance at the government organization and often returned to serve as a chair or senior adviser.  

Perlin has faculty appointments at Vanderbilt University and at VCU. He has experience serving on on a number of health quality, safety and administration boards, including The Joint Commission back in 2007.

> Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s longtime CEO Gary Kaplan, M.D., will be stepping down from the top role at the end of the year. He will stick around in an adviser position for one year to support his successor Ketul Patel.

> Mount Sinai Health System has appointed Margaret Pastuszko as president and chief operating officer.

> Quartet Health has brought on Christina Mainelli as its new chief operating officer, Anay Patel as head of corporate development and strategic planning, Chris Hendry as vice president of patient operations and Shannon Jacobs as vice president of market operations.

> Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has added former NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem CEO Eboné M. Carrington to Manatt Health’s New York office as a managing director.

> MetroHealth System is tapping Alan Nevel, its chief diversity and human resources officer, as its first chief equity officer. It has also brought on Charles Modlin, M.D., as the system’s first medical director for inclusion, diversity and equity.

> Bartlett Regional Hospital’s CEO Rose Lawhorne has resigned from her position after six months in the top role. Kathy Callahan has been appointed as interim CEO.

> WellSpan has named Kimberly Brister as vice president and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

> Atrium Health has appointed Roy Hawkins Jr. as senior vice president and North Market president.

> Grand View Health President and CEO Jean Keeler will retire at the end of the month.

> Better Medicare Alliance has named Greg Gierer as vice president of policy and research.

> Datavant has brought on Mike Burwell as chief financial officer.

> Koa Health has named Jennifer Gendron as its U.S. chief commercial officer.

> McLeod Health has announced Catherine Rabon, M.D., as chief medical officer for McLeod Health Inland Rural Hospitals, effective Oct. 1.

> Healthmap Solutions has added Mark Sprague as its chief financial officer.

> St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital appointed Shannon Dean, M.D., as chief medical information officer.

> Baptist Health in Florida has named Aaron Miri as senior vice president and chief digital and information officer.

> BetterUp has hired former Calm and Ginger executive Omar Dawood, M.D., as president of BetterUp Care.

> MedCrypt has brought on Shannon Lantzy as its vice president of consulting.

> The US Oncology Network has named Jason Hammonds as its new president.

> Laguna Health announced Accolade co-founder Alan Spiro, M.D., as its new president and chief medical officer.

> WellSky has appointed former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to its board of directors.