Dr. Akram Boutros to retire as CEO of MetroHealth in late 2022

Dr. Akram Boutros will step down as President and CEO of MetroHealth in late 2022, heading the public health system since 2013, he announced Monday, November 29.

Boutros was involved in the system to help transform MetroHealth and ensure long-term sustainability, and has since “exceeded the expectations of the board, employees and society,” said MetroHealth chairman Vanessa Whiting, who was on the search committee that hired Boutros. … news release

Since 2013, MetroHealth has opened two hospitals, three emergency departments, 10 community health centers, nine pharmacies and has sent health care providers to more than a dozen local schools, according to the report, which also noted that under Boutros’ leadership, the annual system grew from 785 million dollars to more than 1.5 billion dollars.

During his tenure, MetroHealth opened the Lincoln West School of Science and Health (the only high school in the hospital) in 2018. Boutros also created Ohio’s only Ebola Treatment Center and formed dozens of partnerships, according to the report, including with UH-Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, ProMedica, Cleveland Innovation District and Cuyahoga Community College.

“I fell in love with MetroHealth the first time I arrived and it was a lifelong privilege for me to be its CEO,” Boutros said in a statement. “I never imagined that we could do so much so quickly. Over the past 8.5 years, MetroHealth has become a national leader known for its community focus and financial strength. And I’m glad it’s said that we may have achieved our vision of becoming the most respected public health system in the country. The opening next year of the Glick Center and Behavioral Health Hospital is the right time to pass the baton to the next MetroHealth leader. ”

The system is also embarking on a $ 1 billion transformation of its main campus on West 25th Street, led by Boutros. Twenty-five acres of green space – the first park hospital in the country – will surround the new MetroHealth Glick Center (opening October 2022) and the outpatient and administrative building (opening 2023). The investment will provide or support more than 6,000 new and existing jobs, result in a total economic benefit of $ 900 million for Cuyahoga County, and helped create the Clark Fulton / MetroHealth EcoDistrict Ecological District, which is the first EcoDistrict-certified hospital sponsored in the world, it said.

In addition, Boutros has spearheaded the system as it has integrated social services to ensure equity, promote equity and improve the health of people and communities, it said.

He also inspired political leaders, entrepreneurs, and the public to embrace a comprehensive health care model that transcends traditional medicine to address the social determinants of health. The efforts reportedly include building affordable housing, distributing healthy food, and providing education, vocational training, legal services, and more for the entire community.

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“We are incredibly grateful for his leadership and the strong position he has taken for us to attract the next great CEO,” said Whiting, president of AES Management Corp., in a statement. “He directed our concern towards a unique patient-centered system-wide approach that actively addresses the social determinants of health and is a national model. He has recruited and developed a leadership team that excels in nursing, operations and innovation. stability of our finances, doubling of income and creation of businesses that support our mission. “

His focus on inclusion, diversity and equality extends to the system’s staff, according to a report that noted that 39% of MetroHealth new hires in 2020 were racial or ethnically diverse. According to the report, the campus transformation project has achieved staff goals to date: 50% of county residents, 18% of city residents, 22% of minorities and 5% of women.

According to the report, Boutros increased its workforce from 6,200 to nearly 8,000, raised the system’s minimum wage to $ 15 an hour in 2019, and provided employees with no deduction or co-pay health insurance.

During Boutros’ tenure as CEO of the MetroHealth Foundation, he made the largest donation in his history – $ 42 million from Joanne and Bob Glick – and increased the campaign target from $ 100 million to $ 150 million. MetroHealth reportedly returned more than $ 650 million in free care and welfare programs to Cuyahoga County over the past three years, double the national average.

Also under his leadership, MetroHealth has taken over all of the Cuyahoga County Correctional Center’s health care responsibilities, resulting in improved outcomes and exemplary reviews from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

The MetroHealth Board of Trustees, which is issuing a request to retain the executive search firm that will help conduct the nationwide search, will announce in December the members of a newly formed Search Committee made up of MetroHealth trustees, physicians and staff, organization partners. and community leaders, according to the release.

“Akram was preparing the board and the healthcare system for this day,” Whiting said. “We are grateful that he accommodated us well and provided us with enough notices to go through a thorough process of identifying the person who is best suited for his successor. MetroHealth’s clinical strength, national status, strong leadership team, financial strength and soon to be a modern main hospital and campus will allow us to attract a large number of candidates. “

This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crane’s Cleveland business.

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