Health

Former Ascension CEO, the primary to steer the well being system, passes away

Former Ascension Well being CEO Donald Brennan—who helped type what turned the nation’s largest Catholic well being system—has handed away at age 83.

Along with main St. Louis-based Ascension till 2001, Brennan held the highest posts at Windfall in Washington, Group Well being and co-chaired a Washington state well being fee. He handed away peacefully at his dwelling in Bothell, Wash. on Feb. 12.

Brennan was initially employed as a guide to assist plan the merger between the 2 Catholic methods that shaped Ascension. After spending a yr on the challenge, he was named CEO of the brand new well being system, mentioned his son, Steve Brennan, who serves as Nashville, Tenn.-based Change Healthcare’s senior supervisor of state well being coverage.

Ascension’s present president and CEO, Joe Impicciche, mentioned in an announcement that Ascension owes a debt of gratitude to Brennan for his “visionary management and dedication to our mission.”

“As our first CEO, Don was a key chief within the collaborative course of to determine the mission and values that proceed to information Ascension immediately,” Impicciche mentioned. “Our ideas and prayers are with Don and his household.”

When Brennan retired as Ascension’s CEO in 2001, the well being system had $6 billion in annual revenue and 71 owned or affiliated hospitals. It has since grown even larger. Ascension was a 150-hospital system with north of $25 billion in annual revenue as of June 30, 2020.

Brennan began his profession within the finance division on the College of Colorado Medical Heart in Boulder, Colo., the place we labored from 1976 to 1980. He then turned the primary non-religious CEO for what was then referred to as the Sisters of Windfall Well being System.

He left Windfall in 1993 when he was appointed by Washington state’s then-Gov. Mike Lowry to co-chair the Washington Well being Companies Fee. Established by the 1993 Well being Companies Act, the group labored to formulate a complete healthcare reform technique.

“Once we speak about actually placing your cash the place your mouth is, he believed in healthcare reform sufficient to step away from his job to make it a actuality,” Steve Brennan mentioned.

After Washington lawmakers repealed a lot of the Well being Companies Act, Brennan stepped down from the fee and have become CEO of the St. Louis-based Daughters of Charity Nationwide Well being System in 1995. Throughout his tenure, the well being system merged with the Sisters of St. Joseph Well being System of Ann Arbor, Mich. to develop into Ascension.

Initially, Daughters of Charity had employed Brennan as a guide to held plan its merger with the Sisters of St. Joseph, Steve Brennan mentioned. After spending nearly a yr designing the merger to create Ascension, he turned Ascension’s first CEO.

After retiring from Ascension in 2001, Brennan served on the board of Swedish Well being Companies from 2003 to 2010.

Steve Brennan mentioned he is spoken not too long ago with quite a few his dad’s former colleagues, who describe his management fashion as very collaborative.

“He was a really humble individual and was very cautious to provide credit score elsewhere and to actually attain out to specialists and folks in his group to be leaders, whether or not casual or formal,” he mentioned.

Brennan, who additionally served on the board of the Catholic Well being Affiliation, grew up in Denver because the youngest of 5 kids. He earned a bachelor’s diploma in accounting and a Grasp of Enterprise Administration from the College of Colorado.

All through Brennan’s life, his son mentioned he remained devoted to his household, which included his spouse of almost 60 years, Kathy, 4 sons and 11 grandchildren. He beloved scuba diving, {golfing} and working.

“He was simply very a lot a champion of life steadiness and actually educated all of us on how vital that’s,” Steve Brennan mentioned.


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