UIHC names Kan as first chief growth officer

By Katharine Carlon

University of Iowa Health Care, grappling with growing statewide demand and budgetary constraints, has named Timothy Y. Kan as its first chief growth officer.

The new position, which pays a base salary of $345,000, plus up to $69,000 in incentives in addition to relocation expenses, according to UIHC’s offer letter, is charged with providing “overall leadership, direction, coordination and evaluation of the strategic growth initiatives and activities of UI Health Care.”

In this new position, UIHC officials said, Mr. Kan will champion programs and services growth across the organization, with a focus on creating an integrated system of care that benefits all Iowans.

Mr. Kan will begin Dec. 2 and report to Suresh Gunasekaran, associate vice president of UI Health Care and CEO of UI Hospitals & Clinics.

“We hope that we have conveyed to you that we are very enthusiastic about the possibility of you joining University of Iowa Health Care,” Mr. Gunasekaran wrote in an offer letter to Mr. Kan. “We are very excited that you have chosen to share your talents with one of the top academic medical centers and public universities in the country.”

Mr. Kan most recently served as a director at Navigant Consulting, where he led their strategy practice in the firm’s western region. He holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a master’s in medical sciences from the Boston University School of Medicine, and a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University.

He was selected after a national search chaired by UIHC Chief Financial Officer Brad Haws and Dr. Bruce Gantz, chair of the Department of Otolaryngology. The search committee also included five physicians and five hospital administrators.

“With more Iowans than ever seeking care from UI Health Care, it is key for us to have an experienced leader to help identify and guide new programs and opportunities that will better serve our patients,” Mr. Gunasekaran said.

According to a job description provided by UIHC, those opportunities could include new partnerships and affiliations within key strategic markets, as well as mergers and acquisitions.

UIHC previously withdrew from one such partnership, the UI Health Alliance, in 2018, and dissolved the accountable care organization (ACO) it was operating with Mercycare Service Corporation, Genesis Health System and Great River Health Systems. At the time, the hospital system cited “a rapidly changing health care environment, reductions in federal and state reimbursements, uncertain financial headwinds, and looming cuts in state appropriations.”

Dr. J. Brooks Jackson, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Carver College of Medicine, said shortly thereafter UIHC was “taking a pause and looking at strategic options” for future partnerships.

The chief growth officer is also responsible for “identifying trends, new programs and emerging markets that will drive system growth opportunities,” according to the listing.

According to UIHC’s latest budget narrative, the sprawling $2.36 billion-a-year system has struggled with reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid, health care reform and keeping up with salary and expense inflation on the financial side. It has also been challenged by high demand for services, with inpatient acute admissions expected to increase about 2.8% and outpatient activity about 5% over fiscal 2019.

Chief growth officer is not a new C-suite designation, but it is becoming more common as companies such as Coca-Cola, Lyft and Hyatt eliminate their chief marketing officer role and replace it with an executive managing growth across marketing, sales and technology departments. Singular, a marketing-intelligence platform, reports only about 14 percent of American organizations currently have a chief growth officer, but those that do tend to have larger marketing budgets and a more unified cross-organizational approach to growth.