University of Iowa Health Care creates $345,000 'chief growth officer' job

Job calls for new executive to 'proactively identify potential partnership opportunities'

The main entrance to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is shown alongside the University of Iowa Children's H
The main entrance to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is shown alongside the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in Iowa City on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Facing mounting patient demands on its staff, facilities and resources, University of Iowa Health Care has created a $345,000 position focused on growth across its $2.4 billion-a-year system.

Following a national two-month search, Chicago-based health care strategist Timothy Y. Kan will start Dec. 2 as UIHC’s first-ever chief growth officer.

The position was posted June 28, with the application period closed Aug. 15. Officials wouldn’t say how many candidates a 12-member search committee considered or how many finalists it interviewed.

But UI Hospitals and Clinics Chief Executive Officer Suresh Gunasekaran on Sept. 25 sent Kan an offer letter expressing enthusiasm.

“We are very excited that you have chosen to share your talents with one of the top academic medical centers and public universities in the country,” the letter said in part.

Gunasekaran and his colleagues last month told the Board of Regents that UIHC facilities are maxed out, putting pressure on budgets, staffers and the UI’s ability to fulfill its mission to serve the sickest of the sick in Iowa and the Midwest.

“If we had more beds, we could serve more Iowans,” Gunasekaran reported. “We continue to experience a lot more Iowans who would have liked to have gotten admitted.”


Patient gripes over wait times and delays in getting admitted raise the question, according to Gunasekaran: “How are we going to manage this situation as we continue to stay very full?”

That begs another the question, UI President Bruce Harreld added during the presentation.

“And the answer is yes,” Harreld said, “we are looking at adding capacity.”

Administrators at the time didn’t elaborate on specific ideas for growing services, partnerships and facilities — except to transfer $25 million for a public-private dialysis collaboration, which the university since has curtailed. A chunk of that $25 million also was to go toward an inpatient rehabilitation hospital to serve the region — although few details of that have been released.

A job description for the hospital’s new growth officer expects him to “proactively identify potential partnership opportunities within key strategic markets and provide guidance relative to opportunities for partnership, affiliation, and merger and acquisition discussions.”

More than a year ago, UIHC — after committing tens of millions to form a network of health care providers — announced plans to exit its UI Health Alliance and dissolve the group’s accountable care organization, paying as much of $7.5 million “to meet cash flow requirements to facilitate discontinuance.” The alliance amounted to a partnership with MercyCare Service Corporation, Genesis Health System and Great River Health Systems.

Beyond new partnerships, Kan would identify trends, novel programs and emerging markets to drive growth.

Kan most recently served as a director at Navigant Consulting, a Chicago firm, where he led its strategy practice for the organization’s west region. He boasts more than 20 years of experience in enterprise and service-line strategy, organizational integration and performance improvement, according to UIHC.

He earned a master of business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; a master of arts in medical sciences from the Boston University School of Medicine; and a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern.


Kan, in a statement, said UIHC is “uniquely positioned to continue to grow and innovate care delivery.”

In addition to his base salary, Kan will receive a $55,000 “transition allowance” and the opportunity for $69,000 in incentive pay based on institutional and individual goals and the system’s financial performance.

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