Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Alliance appoints new chief

He's former CEO of Philadelphia health group

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati has named a hospital executive from the Philadelphia area as its new president and chief executive officer.

        Kenneth Hanover, CEO of the Main Line Health System in Bryn Mawr, Pa. (a Philadelphia suburb), takes the helm of Greater Cincinnati's biggest hospital system effective May 1.

        He will replace Jack Cook, the Health Alliance's only chief executive since it formed in January 1995. Mr. Cook announced plans to resign in May 2000.

        The Health Alliance, with nearly 13,600 employees, is the area's fifth-largest employer. It includes the University, Christ, Jewish, St. Luke and Fort Hamilton hospitals, and the Alliance Primary Care physician group.

        Under Mr. Cook, the alliance closed Jewish Hospital in Avondale, converted University Hospital into a private non-profit, and made more than $90 million in budget cuts. However, the Health Alliance has not moved as fast as expected on consolidating duplicated medical services.

        The Alliance spent recent years digging out from more than $88 million in losses in fiscal 1998 and 1999. A turn-around plan launched by Mr. Cook has nearly eliminated those losses and officials predict reaching their goals for fiscal 2001.

        Mr. Hanover, 49, has been with the Main Line Health System since 1989, rising through several executive positions to become CEO in 1996. That year, Main Line Health became a founding member of Jefferson Health System, now Philadelphia's biggest health care group.

        As an executive from the outside, Mr. Hanover may be in a better position to make some potentially difficult decisions, said Robert Kanter, chairman of the Health Alliance board of trustees.

        “(Mr. Hanover) has demonstrated an ability to get involved. He knows how to talk to doctors, how to get their input and how to make a decision. And he is tough enough to carry it out,” Mr. Kanter said.

        Neither Mr. Cook nor Mr. Hanover was available for comment Tuesday.


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