When Geisinger Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Glenn Steele Jr. steps down next year, he will leave big shoes to fill.
Steele, who recently was named among the nation’s most influential physician executives by Modern Healthcare for the fourth consecutive year, has been known for his innovation and drive since he took the helm on March 1, 2001.
His 2015 departure was announced Monday, part of a statement in which Geisinger officials said they have begun the process of seeking a new leader.
During his time at Geisinger, the health system experienced phenomenal growth and gained recognition during the transformation of health care through its advanced use of the electronic health record and the development and implementation of innovative care models, according to Geisinger officials.
“I really think what he brought to the organization was his vision and his ability to implement his vision and what he saw as the future of health care,” said Amy Brayford, the health system’s chief human resources officer.
She said the system went from 7,500 employees in 2001 to almost 21,000 today.
“He’s unbelievably innovative,” Brayford added. “He has pushed the organization and has driven the organization to be innovative.”
She said Steele focused on quality and value of health care for patient groups and caring for patients through the entire life cycle.
The medical care office, for example, communicates with patients between appointments to coordinate everything that patients need, from medications to making sure they make their appointments, to take care of chronic health problems from congestive heart conditions to diabetes.
Among Steele’s innovations are value-based health care, said Dave Jolley, Geisinger vice president for public affairs.
“You should be providing value for every one of your patients,” Jolley said. “As opposed to a fee for service paid for a volume of work, we ‘re starting to see it turn to be paid more for the value of the work you perform.”
While the health system’s board of directors has begun a search, nationwide and internally, for Steele’s successor, Brayford said finding someone as dynamic and visionary will be difficult.
“The system has had tremendous growth in quality and efficiency,” Brayford said. “He’s been a great leader and asset to the community. He will be a tough person to replace.”
When Steele steps down next June, he will continue as chairman of xG Health Solutions, an independently operated venture based in Columbia, Maryland, that helps health care organizations nationwide and internationally create value and improve quality with the help of intellectual property developed in the Geisinger system.
Steele has served since 2012 on the United States Congressional Budget Office’s panel of health advisers. He is also a member of the Roundtable on Value and Science-driven Healthcare, was recently appointed to the Committee on the Governance and Financing of Graduate Medical Education, and previously served on the Committee on Reviewing Evidence to Identify Highly Effective Clinical Services.
Steele is past chairman of the American Board of Surgery. His investigations have focused on the cell biology of gastrointestinal cancer and pre-cancer, and most recently on innovations in health delivery and financing. A prolific writer, he is the author or co-author of more than 480 scientific and professional articles.