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Bill Ryan, President and CEO, Announces Retirement

CLEVELAND, April 25, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After 14 years of service to the organization, Bill Ryan, president and CEO of The Center for Health Affairs and CHAMPS Healthcare, has made the decision to retire at the end of 2016. The Center for Health Affairs' board of directors has begun the process of finding his replacement and has engaged Waverly Partners, LLC, to assist in an executive search.

"I've always felt it was important for an organization to regularly refresh its leadership," said Ryan on his decision to retire. "I came to The Center with a plan to revitalize its purpose, rebuild its business offerings, and create a workplace culture that would attract the best people. My part of that work is done. It's time for new leadership to build on that foundation and take The Center and CHAMPS to the next level of success."

Deanna Moore, vice president of corporate communications, The Center for Health Affairs, says Ryan has had a succession plan in place for a while. "It's never easy to replace someone that's been leading an organization a long time, but Bill has been very intentional in planning for his retirement and made sure to foster talent within the organization so that there aren't major gaps when he leaves," she explained. "While we'll never have another Bill, there is a lot of talent in Northeast Ohio including within our own organization. The staff and our boards will have a lot of input during the executive search process and will all be working closely with Waverly. I'm confident the organization will be in very good hands when Bill leaves."

Ryan began his time at The Center by focusing on the value the organization provided to its members, a theme he championed throughout his tenure. He recognized the importance of demonstrating a positive return on investment for members and as such, not only emphasized programs and initiatives that achieved positive outcomes but chose not to raise membership dues for his 14 years as president and CEO.

Ryan also played a key role in serving as the voice for Northeast Ohio hospitals. Known for his frank and insightful perspective on healthcare in Northeast Ohio, Ryan was regularly sought out by members of the media. Though always a fierce advocate for member hospitals, Ryan did not shy away from candor, even on difficult topics and sometimes nudged member hospitals further along the path toward challenging – yet ultimately necessary – changes.

A skilled lobbyist, negotiator and team-builder, Ryan had a reputation for identifying and building lasting partnerships focused on common vision and purpose. These skills enabled him to successfully advocate on behalf of The Center's membership on dozens of public policy concerns that arose during his tenure. Though each of these concerns was important, perhaps the one that benefited most from his involvement was Medicaid expansion in 2013. This issue, which was critical to the financial health of hospitals not just in Northeast Ohio but throughout the state, was one that the General Assembly, in general, did not support. Ryan proposed a solution based on a technical procedure, which would spare the majority of the General Assembly from having to vote on the issue. This idea made its way to Governor Kasich who ultimately used it, having the little-known Controlling Board vote on whether to allow the state to accept $2.56 billion in federal funds for Medicaid expansion. The 5-to-2 majority vote secured the funds and ushered Ohio into an era of more stable funding for hospitals and increased access to healthcare for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Ohioans. Without Ryan's thoughtful approach to the difficult political situation, Medicaid expansion most likely would not have passed in Ohio.

In addition to the strategic guidance that characterized his work with the association, Ryan provided visionary leadership toCHAMPS Healthcare. He often recounts that at a board meeting early in his tenure, he presented what at the time seemed like a pipe dream: achieving $10 million in revenue and a $1 million bottom line. In 2016, revenues of The Center for Health Affairs and its affiliates are projected to be more than $23 million with a $7.4 million bottom line – just a decade and a half after that pronouncement. Under his leadership, what used to be a collection of services offered to greater Cleveland hospitals, has grown into several successful business lines that serve thousands of clients across the country.

"There's no finding a replacement for someone like Bill," acknowledged Heidi L. Gartland, vice president, government relations, University Hospitals and The Center's board chair emeritus. "Bill's influence goes beyond the scope of the organization to the larger healthcare landscape."

Waverly Partners, LLC have begun educating themselves on the needs of the organization and will begin identifying potential candidates in the next few months. A new leader will be selected by the end of the year and will be prepared to start as CEO at the beginning of 2017.

With a rich history as the Northeast Ohio hospital association, dating back to 1916, The Center for Health Affairs serves as the collective voice of hospitals and the source for Northeast Ohio hospital and healthcare information. As the leading advocate for Northeast Ohio hospitals, The Center aims to enhance the effectiveness of the healthcare community and the health of the communities it serves by providing expertise, resources and solutions to address the challenges faced by the region's healthcare providers. The Center's efforts focus on areas that benefit member hospitals from a regional approach, including healthcare workforce; emergency preparedness; public policy and advocacy; finance and reimbursement; and community initiatives. And because of its business affiliation with CHAMPS Healthcare, The Center has the resources to provide a broad level of professional services to its members. The Center, located in downtown Cleveland, is proud to advocate on behalf of 34 acute-care hospitals and two long-term acute-care hospitals in six counties. The Center for Health Affairs is honored to be named as one of The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Top Workplaces in 2014 and 2015, as well as to ERC's NorthCoast99 List in 2003, 2004, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015. For more, visit neohospitals.org. 2016 marks 100 years of hospital advocacy and partnerships for The Center for Health Affairs and CHAMPS Healthcare. The centennial anniversary includes a community gift, commemorative timeline and celebratory event. To learn more visit neohospitals100.com.

CONTACT: Deanna Moore 216.255.3614 deanna.moore@chanet.orgSource:The Center for Health Affairs