CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kevin E. Lofton, FACHE, one of the longest-standing CEOs in the health care industry, announced today he will retire as chief executive officer of CommonSpirit Health on June 30, 2020. When he moves forward to the next chapter of his life, Lofton will have completed 17 years as CEO and 22 years as an executive with Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) and now CommonSpirit Health, and 42 years total as a health care leader.
Following Lofton’s retirement, Lloyd H. Dean will become the organization’s sole CEO. Since CommonSpirit was formed in February 2019 through the combination of Dignity Health and CHI, Dean and Lofton have both served as CEOs with distinct responsibilities.
“Kevin Lofton is an exceptional leader and one of the most influential in health care,” said Tessie Guillermo, CommonSpirit Board chair. “Upon his retirement, the Board is pleased to honor Kevin with the honorary title CEO Emeritus of CommonSpirit Health in recognition of his many significant accomplishments and lasting imprint on our organization and the health care industry. We have been lucky to be on this journey under the leadership and expertise of both Kevin and Lloyd as they worked side-by-side in the Office of the CEO. We are confident that under Lloyd’s leadership we will be well-positioned to transform how we deliver care across the 21 states we serve.”
Lofton, 65, was named CEO of CHI in 2003. He has provided strong, forward-looking, mission-driven leadership. On February 1, 2019, CHI joined together with Dignity Health to create CommonSpirit, allowing the organizations to expand their mission of service and create a healthier future for people and communities across America. It is the largest nonprofit health system in the country by revenue.
Lofton chose to announce his retirement now, as the organization approaches its first anniversary, because CommonSpirit has a strong foundation, a clear mission and strategy, and a talented leadership team in place.
Lofton will continue to lead the organization for the next six months until Dean becomes the sole CEO on July 1, 2020.
“It has been an honor to share the creation of CommonSpirit Health with Kevin and there is no question that all of us have appreciated the gifts that he brought forward. I will forever cherish the opportunity to have been a part of this journey with him,” said Lloyd H. Dean, CEO. “We all owe Kevin a great deal of gratitude and I wish him and his family all the best.”
The CommonSpirit Board originally created the two-CEO structure to provide successful integration of the two systems, and did not intend it to be permanent.
Following his retirement, Lofton will continue his current board commitments and remain fully-engaged in shaping the future of health care in America.
A Career of Service and Influence
Over his career, Lofton has had broad impact across the health care landscape, increasing the number and influence of minority health care executives and physicians, eliminating disparities of care, and improving the overall health of people and communities.
Lofton’s decades-long effort to increase equity in health care yielded important changes nationally. He focused attention on health disparities and helped find solutions to eliminating them. His example and leadership led to an increase in the number of minority health care executives and physicians in the U.S.
He was the founding chair of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Equity of Care Initiative, which was later joined by the Catholic Health Association, American Association of Medical Colleges, and America’s Essential Hospitals. Together they created a focus on equity of care. He also was a founding board member of the Institute for Diversity, president of National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE), board member at Morehouse School of Medicine, and member of the Board of Visitors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine.
Before joining CHI, Lofton was CEO of both Howard University Hospital and UAB Hospital, and COO of UF Health Hospital in Jacksonville, FL.
Under Lofton’s leadership, CHI transformed from a hospital company to an innovative, diversified health care entity — from a 68-hospital, $6 billion enterprise, to a $15.5 billion health care entity in 18 states at the time of the merger. In fiscal year 2018, CHI alone contributed $2 billion in community benefit and financial assistance to its communities, including the unpaid costs of government programs, and awarded $9.2 million in grants and multi-year funding to build healthier communities in the U.S. and around the globe.
Lofton also championed efforts to prevent violence, reduce human trafficking, and transform care delivery. Under his leadership, CHI took a systematic “total health” approach to address social determinants, involving concrete steps such as screening for basic human needs during primary care visits and building broad-based community coalitions.
In its first year, CommonSpirit provided care to almost 20 million people in communities across America. Inspired by the legacy of the women religious, the new organization continues its unwavering commitment to person-centered, holistic care for all people, expanding its mission of service and creating a healthier future for people and communities across 21 states.
Lofton recruited a nationally-recognized technology leader to be CommonSpirit’s first chief information and digital officer. She is bringing experience from other industries to integrate and modernize technology across the formerly-independent health systems and accelerate innovation.
CommonSpirit recently completed the largest bond offering for a nonprofit health system in this country’s history, earning support for the $6.5 billion debt restructuring from financial analysts. Its geographic reach and diversity of services are key factors in positioning the health system for long-term success.
Lofton’s other professional accomplishments include service as board chairman of the American Hospital Association in 2007, chairman of the AHA PAC from 2015 to 2018, regent at large in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), and member of the Executive Leadership Council.
Lofton has been included in Modern Healthcare Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” 15 times. Among his many awards, he received the Distinguished Alumni award from Georgia State University (GSU), as well as the Hall of Fame Award from its Robinson College of Business, an honorary doctorate in Humanities in Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine, the ACHE Gold Medal Award, the Healthcare Financial Management Association Richard L. Clark Board of Directors Award, and the Pierre Toussaint Medallion from the Archdiocese of New York.
Currently, Lofton serves on the boards of Gilead Sciences, Inc., the Rite Aid Corp., and the GSU Foundation. He also has served on the boards of the Catholic Health Association and the GSU Robinson College of Business Advisory Board.
Lofton received a master’s of health administration degree from the GSU Robinson College of Business in Atlanta and a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration from the Boston University Questrom School of Business.
About CommonSpirit Health
CommonSpirit Health is a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. CommonSpirit Health is committed to creating healthier communities, delivering exceptional patient care, and ensuring every person has access to quality health care. With its national office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2019, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of nearly $29 billion and provided $4.45 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. Learn more at commonspirit.org.