SOURCE: University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC)

March 19, 2007 14:32 ET

University HealthSystem Consortium Names Irene M. Cumming as Its New President and Chief Executive Officer

OAK BROOK, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 19, 2007 -- Today, the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) announced that its Governing Board has appointed Irene M. Cumming as its new president and chief executive officer. Cumming is president and chief executive officer of the University of Kansas Hospital Authority. She will succeed Robert J. Baker, who announced his retirement last year after more than 20 years as the organization's leader. Cumming will join UHC on July 2, 2007.

"Irene Cumming brings the depth of experience and collaborative leadership skills that will allow her to build on UHC's past achievements and ensure its future success," said Timothy Goldfarb, UHC's Chairman of the Member Board of Directors and chief executive officer of Shands HealthCare. "Academic medical centers face increasingly complex challenges. She possesses the vision and innovative ideas to successfully lead UHC as it works to help members achieve clinical, operational, and financial excellence now and in the future."

As president and chief executive officer of the University of Kansas Hospital Authority since 1996, Cumming was instrumental in establishing the hospital as an independent entity in 1998. Following that change and under her leadership, the hospital experienced a dramatic turnaround with patient volumes increasing from 13,000 to 20,000 and revenue increasing by more than 200 percent to $570 million from 1998 to 2006. The hospital saw a record change in patient satisfaction and quality of care, for which the hospital and its staff have received numerous national awards. The hospital received its Magnet designation in December 2006.

Cumming has been an active UHC participant for more than 10 years. In 1998, after serving on UHC's Member Board of Directors and several task forces and committees, she was appointed to UHC's Governing Board and served through 2000. In 2001, she was appointed to UHC's Operations Committee, which provides oversight to many of UHC's programs and services, and chaired that committee from 2003 to 2004. In 2004, Cumming became the first woman elected as chairperson of UHC's Member Board of Directors and served in that position until 2005. As past chair, she continues to serve on UHC's Governing Board.

Cumming serves on many other boards of directors, including her appointment as board chairperson of the Association of American Medical Colleges' Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems. She is a member of the regional board of the American Hospital Association. Currently, she is president of the Kansas City, Kansas, Chamber of Commerce.

Commenting on her new post Cumming said, "This is a natural step for me. For more than two decades, I have worked with academic medical centers to achieve success. This is an opportunity to work with the outstanding staff of UHC on behalf of all academic medical centers to help them achieve their goals of excellence in quality of care and financial performance."

Cumming is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor of science degree in business from State University of New York and participated in master's studies in organizational management at the University of Pennsylvania.

About UHC:

UHC is an alliance of 97 academic medical centers with 153 of their affiliate hospitals. UHC offers its members specific programs and services to improve clinical, operational, and financial performance. Visit "About UHC" at www.uhc.edu for more information.

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