Longtime UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids head announces retirement

Ted Townsend to step down Dec. 31

Ted Townsend

UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids
Ted Townsend UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS — Ted Townsend, the longtime president and chief executive officer of UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids will retire at the end of the year.

Townsend, who was first named head of the organization in 2002, will step down on Dec. 31, after 39 years in the health care industry.

Michelle Niermann, executive vice president and chief operating officer of UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids, has been named by the board of directors as Townsend’s successor, according to a news release Tuesday.

Niermann will begin her tenure as president and CEO on Jan. 1.

“Under (Townsend’s) steady and visionary leadership, UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids has increasingly thrived,” said Kevin Vermeer, UnityPoint Health president and CEO, in a news release.

Townsend “has helped lead the region in moving from volume to value-based care in terms of service delivery transformation and has helped enhance health care access in the Cedar Rapids market.”

UnityPoint officials say Townsend’s leadership brought growth to the organization, which now includes 194 health care providers, 33 clinics and more than 4,000 team members. The organization also consists of St. Luke’s Hospital, Jones Regional Medical Center, AbbeHealth, MedLab and Living Centers East and West.

UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids earned several awards and recognitions during Townsend’s tenure, including the rank of the third best hospital in Iowa according to U.S. News and World Report and a six-time designation as one of the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics.


A Michigan native, Townsend is a charter board member for Cedar Rapids MedQuarter and Iowa HealthCare Quality Collaborative.

He also is a board member for the Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance as well as a board of trustee with Waypoint and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Townsend is a graduate of Western Michigan University and received his degree in health care administration from Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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