Geisinger CEO to step down

Led Pennsylvania health system with trailblazing projects toward better care at lower cost
By Mike Miliard
11:18 AM
Glenn D. Steele Jr., MD

Glenn D. Steele Jr., MD, president and chief executive officer of Geisinger Health System, will step down next summer.

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Serving roughly 20,000 square miles of northeastern Pennsylvania, Geisinger provides care for more than 2.6 million people and has also run its own health plan for nearly 30 years. Steele, 70, has led the health system since 2001, and during that period has seen the implementation of technology and analytics initiatives that have been models for the rest of the country.

Steele's leadership on deploying IT toward better, more efficient care has been lauded by everyone from medical and industry groups to President Barack Obama.

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He will continue on as chairman of xG Health Solutions, a Geisinger spin-off that works to help other providers develop programs to improve quality and reduce costs.

In a long Q&A with Healthcare IT News this past spring, Steele discussed how projects such as Geisinger's consolidated Clinical Decision Intelligence System, its ProvenCare program and its Center for Clinical Innovation have helped unlock new ideas and strategies for giving smarter, better more cost-effective care.

"Our top strategic aim is innovation and quality," he said. "We've tried to figure out how our version of vertical integration between payer and provider can really optimally mesh the information and the use and analysis of it from both side of the house."

The goal is "change in behavior," he added. "We have to change it on behalf of our providers as well as our patients. And on the insurance side."

Challenging entrenched incentives for all of those groups is just a starting point, however. "You also have to enable people with timely feedback about what they're doing, and the consequences of that, and what they should be doing," said Steele. "And that's all about data."

Geisinger has already begun the process of recruiting a successor.

"This is a planned and expected process to ensure that we take the time necessary to identify Geisinger's next leader," said Geisinger board Chairman William Alexander, in a press statement. "Dr. Steele has done an incredible job of leading and growing the health system, as well as expanding innovative health care services for Geisinger's patients and members. We are thrilled that he will continue as chairman of xG Health Solutions."

"Leading Geisinger is one of the best opportunities I could ever imagine," said Steele, in a statement. "With the commitment and dedication of our employees, Geisinger has done well and is making a difference in evolving value-based health care across the country. I am fully committed to moving full speed ahead as we recruit and welcome a new CEO."