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Published on October 12, 2016

Ascension Leader Mike Schatzlein, MD, Announces Retirement

By City County Observer

After a long and distinguished healthcare career marked by innovation, dedication and servant leadership, Mike Schatzlein, MD, has announced he will be stepping down effective December 31, 2016, from Ascension, the nation’s largest non-profit and Catholic health system. He will continue to reside in Nashville, and concentrate on his work as Chair of the Center for Medical Interoperability, incoming Chair of the United Way Board, and a member of the Council Capital CEO Council.

Dr. Schatzlein serves as Senior Vice President, Ascension Healthcare, and Group Ministry Market Executive with oversight responsibility for the Ascension Indiana and Tennessee Ministry Markets. And since August 2015 he has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Ascension’s St. Vincent’s HealthCare in Jacksonville, Florida. He previously served as President and CEO for Ascension’s Saint Thomas Health in Nashville, Tennessee, from June 2010 through July 2015.

“Mike’s career has been marked by humility, passion for exceptional care, and a keen sense of humor,” said Patricia A. Maryland, Dr.PH, President, Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer, Ascension Healthcare, a division of Ascension. He earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees from Indiana University and trained in surgery at the Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, and in thoracic surgery at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He also earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion.

Dr. Schatzlein practiced cardiothoracic and vascular surgery in Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 1980 to 1994, performing the first heart transplant in northern Indiana in 1985. At one point, nine of the 22 longest-living heart transplant patients in the world had received their transplants under his direction.

In 1994, Dr. Schatzlein added healthcare administration to his resume, serving in various executive roles with Lutheran Health in Fort Wayne, where he was active in community affairs and served on numerous boards. He chaired the capital campaign for Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne and served on the Advisory Councils for that university’s School of Medicine and School of Business. He helped executives from Quorum, Triad, and Community Health Systems (CHS) take Lutheran Hospital from a standalone hospital to northern Indiana’s largest health system. He was appointed system CEO there in 2007, and in 2009 assumed operating responsibility for all 10 of CHS’s Indiana hospitals.

Dr. Schatzlein has long been dedicated to improving healthcare not only for his patients, but for all individuals and communities. Beginning in 2010, under his leadership Saint Thomas Health grew from five to nine hospitals and created the state’s largest accountable care organization, MissionPoint Health Partners, now part of Ascension Care Management.

“Dr. Schatzlein’s emphasis on efficiency and operational rigor led Saint Thomas Health to its most successful financial and operational years and a regional reputation for quality, innovation and service,” Dr. Maryland said. “His insistence on consistently improving all aspects of organizational performance was motivated by a passion for continuously improving care for patients and their families. He was and is a student of the teachings and examples of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac and an ardent admirer of the Daughters of Charity, one of Ascension’s historical sponsors.”

Speaking with Becker’s Hospital Review late last year, Dr. Schatzlein said his desire to develop clinically integrated systems of care goes back to the 1980s and 1990s, and he continues to focus on population health. His second passion after population health, he said, has been improving processes and safety in hospitals. “My experience as a physician led me to population health as the best solution for delivery, and process improvement as the best solution for cost and quality,” he said.

“As a physician and an administrator, Mike has demonstrated the importance of listening and the value of mentoring,” Dr. Maryland said. “He has been a role model and guide for clinicians and administrative leaders across Ascension, including serving as a Career Sponsor in the Ascension Leadership Academy, and we are a stronger and more compassionate ministry thanks to his influence.”

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