Froedtert Health CEO Petasnick to Step Down; Board of Directors Names Successor
Milwaukee, Wis. (April 5, 2012) — The Froedtert Health board of directors announced today its longtime chief executive officer, William D. Petasnick, will step down as of July 1, 2012. The board also announced Catherine Jacobson, currently president of Froedtert Health, will succeed Petasnick. She will become president and CEO of Froedtert Health on July 1, 2012. Petasnick will remain on the board of directors as vice chairman.
Petasnick and the board began a succession planning process more than 18 months ago; today’s announcement culminates the process. Petasnick will leave Froedtert Health after 19 years of dedicated service to the nonprofit health system.
“As chair of Froedtert Health’s board of directors, I’m excited about this news on two levels,” said David Lubar. “Over the next few months, we will have the opportunity to honor and celebrate Bill’s strong and visionary leadership of Froedtert Health. He has made invaluable contributions to our organization, the community, the state of Wisconsin and to the national dialogue about the need for health care reform through his board leadership roles at the American Hospital Association. Second, we eagerly look forward to working with Cathy as the health system’s president and CEO. She too is a visionary, and has already impressed us with her capabilities as a smart and strategic leader.”
Lubar continued, “In today’s uncertain economic environment and with all of the changes facing the health care field, it’s important to maintain momentum when leadership changes occur inside an organization as complex as a large integrated health system. By sharing his plans to step down, Bill allowed the board time to thoughtfully select a new president and create an opportunity for Cathy to work closely with Bill for more than a year. I’m pleased Bill has agreed to continue on the board of directors as vice chairman so we will continue to benefit from his knowledge and experience.”
Petasnick said, “I have been fortunate to work with a highly effective management team and an outstanding board of directors. Working together, we have accomplished much. It is a source of great pride to see Froedtert Hospital, in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin, become one of the leading academic medical centers in the country.
“I take satisfaction knowing we have put in place an effective leadership transition plan and that the stride to achieving our long-term vision will not be broken. Cathy Jacobson, as president and CEO, is ready to lead the transformation needed to a more integrated system of care and I am pleased to be in a position to support her as a board member.”
A recognized and respected leader in national health care policy, Petasnick does not plan to retire but to begin another chapter of engagement. He intends to stay active in the health care policy arena, serving on public and private boards, working with other organizations to help them improve their strategic performance and continuing as a strong advocate for health care reform. For example, Petasnick is dedicating some of his time to the Strategic Health Perspectives (SHP) Thought Leadership Team, a product of Harris Interactive, the market research company. SHP monitors health care stakeholders – government, physicians, payors, employers and consumers – reporting on how opinions are shifting and preparing its clients to foresee future opportunities and potential obstacles.
Petasnick joined Froedtert Hospital in 1993 as Milwaukee County was grappling with significant and unsustainable deficits at its county hospital. Petasnick worked closely with Milwaukee County leaders to change the model of care, with Milwaukee County becoming a purchaser of care and Froedtert Hospital expanding to a full-service academic medical center in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin.
On December 21, 1995, the day Milwaukee County Hospital closed its doors, Froedtert Hospital purchased the county hospital’s assets, doubled in size and budget, and added 1,000 staff to its ranks. Froedtert Hospital flourished under the new model, growing from about 10,000 hospital admissions in 1995 to almost 18,000 the next year. In 2011, Froedtert Health’s annual inpatient admissions exceeded 41,500.
Petasnick led the development of Froedtert Health in 2001, when Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls joined with Froedtert Hospital. In 2008, St. Joseph’s Hospital, West Bend, and the West Bend Clinic joined the system. In 2011, Froedtert Health purchased a large physician group in Menomonee Falls, bringing the health system’s staff to nearly 9,000, including 137 employed physicians with clinics in 32 locations. Froedtert & The Medical College provide an additional one million patient visits annually at the 57 clinics located on the academic medical center campus.
When Petasnick began his career, the organization consisted of a half hospital, with services split between the county hospital and Froedtert Hospital, and annual revenues of $140 million. Today the health system’s annual revenues total more than $1.2 billion.
“Under Bill’s leadership, Froedtert Health has grown rapidly,” Lubar noted. “While growth is important, it’s not the primary source of pride for Bill and his staff. Froedtert Health has become a unique academic-community partnership, pairing community-based care with eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center, Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin.”
Lubar added, “With Bill at the helm, Froedtert Health has been a leader in patient satisfaction. Milwaukee consumers have chosen Froedtert Hospital as the most preferred hospital for the past seven years, US News and World Report ranked Froedtert Hospital best in metro Milwaukee, and it was the only adult hospital to make the national ‘best’ list. Its cancer care is internationally known, attracting patients from throughout the world.
“As a national leader, Bill has served as chairman of the American Hospital Association, Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Council of Teaching Hospitals. He has a strong track record of effective leadership, a keen understanding of health care and health policy, and a reputation as a collaborator and consensus builder.”
Prior to joining Froedtert Hospital, Petasnick held executive roles at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, University of North Carolina Hospitals at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. In 2006, he was named Rotary Person of the Year by the Milwaukee Chapter. In 2007, Petasnick received an honorary doctorate in health management from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in recognition of his national leadership role in health services administration. He was the first such person to receive this honor from the UW system.
Petasnick is an adjunct associate professor of health management at the University of Iowa. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s in health administration from the University of Minnesota. He serves on numerous nonprofit boards and currently chairs the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, a forum for collaboration among Milwaukee’s health care systems, community health centers, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and state and local health departments with a goal of working together to improve coverage, access and care coordination for Milwaukee’s Medicaid and low-income uninsured populations.
“Bill leaves some very big shoes to fill, but the board is confident Cathy is ready to step into that role and successfully lead the organization into the future,” said Lubar.
“Since Cathy Jacobson joined Froedtert Health 18 months ago as chief financial and strategy officer, she has repeatedly demonstrated a remarkable ability to lead the organization,” said Petasnick. “I know she is the right person to take this organization to the next level.”
Jacobson came to Froedtert Health in 2010 after 14 years with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where she guided the organization through long-term strategic planning while building innovative partnerships with other health care providers and insurers. In June 2011, she was promoted to president of Froedtert Health, assuming responsibility for the overall operations of the health system while continuing to oversee long-term strategic and financial efforts for the health system.
Froedtert Health is a regional health care organization made up of Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee; Community Memorial Hospital, Menomonee Falls; St. Joseph’s Hospital, West Bend; and Froedtert Health Clinics, Waukesha and Washington counties. Joining the capabilities of an academic medical center affiliated with The Medical College of Wisconsin, two community hospitals and 32 community-based primary and specialty clinics, Froedtert Health delivers highly coordinated, cost-effective health care to residents of southeastern Wisconsin and beyond. In fiscal 2011, combined adult patient admissions for the three hospitals exceeded 41,500.
Key Dates and Events
1980 – Froedtert Hospital opens its doors as an academic medical center with faculty physicians from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
1992 – Dean Roe, the first president and chief executive officer of Froedtert Hospital, steps down.
1993 – William D. Petasnick is hired as president and chief executive officer of Froedtert Hospital.
1995 – On December. 21, Milwaukee County Hospital’s assets are sold to Froedtert Hospital. Froedtert becomes a whole hospital with all services for the first time in its history.
2000 – Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin co-brand is introduced.
2001 – Community Memorial Hospital joins Froedtert Hospital, forming Froedtert Health.
2007 – Froedtert & The Medical College Cancer Center opens under a new model of care that five years later has almost doubled the number of cancer patients treated.
2008 – St. Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend and the West Bend Clinic join Froedtert Health.
2008 – William D. Petasnick serves as the board chairman of the American Hospital Association.
2010 – Catherine Jacobson joins Froedtert Health as executive vice president for finance and strategy.
2010 – Six Medical Associates clinics join Froedtert Health.
2012 – William D. Petasnick steps down as chief executive officer of Froedtert Health and Catherine Jacobson is appointed president and CEO.