GRAND RAPIDS — Tina Freese Decker, who started at Spectrum Health 16 years ago and steadily moved up the executive leadership ranks, will become its next president and CEO on Sept. 1.
Freese Decker, who presently serves as the health system’s executive vice president and COO, was the unanimous choice by Spectrum Health directors to succeed Rick Breon, who plans to retire after 20 years as CEO.
“Not a day has passed that I haven’t felt enormous pride to work at Spectrum Health and to work in this community,” Freese Decker said this morning at a press conference announcing her appointment.
“I am inspired and I am exhilarated and humbled to serve as Spectrum Health’s CEO,” she said. “I promise you I will strive to lead this organization to the best it can be and improve the health of the communities that we serve.”
Directors at Spectrum Health chose Freese Decker after conducting what board chair Dick DeVos called an “very intense national search to find the very best person” to succeed Breon.
“Come to find out that person was a part of our organization already. That was not a foregone conclusion by any means,” DeVos said.
Freese Decker was chosen from three finalists. Her vision and understanding for the future of heath care — locally and nationally — made her stand out at the end of the search process.
The fact that Freese Decker was an internal candidate did not weigh in the search process, DeVos said.
“She had to win it on her own, and she did,” he said. “Her vision for the future of this organization toward personalized, individualized health (and) making sure every person that we serve is getting the very best care possible — her passion and commitment to that was very compelling.”
In addressing Spectrum Health employees and executives this morning, Freese Decker said the health system stands well positioned for the future to adapt to changes occurring in health care.
“We are well-positioned to transform ourselves, especially for the future of health care,” she said. “This transformation will require change … new thinking, new beliefs and new behaviors. Change is not an indictment of the past. It’s a recognition that we must continue to evolve with the times. That’s what all great companies do and that’s what we aspire to do.”
Spectrum Health consists of 12 hospitals across the region, 180 ambulatory care and service sites, and 3,600 physicians and advanced practice providers, plus the second-largest health plan in Michigan, Priority Health.
The health system in the 2017 fiscal year had total operating income of $5.68 billion with net operating income of $192 million.