Scripps Health Earns National Honors As 2008 Top Leadership Team in Healthcare

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SAN DIEGO – Bringing a dramatic financial and cultural turnaround full circle, Scripps Health has earned national honors as the 2008 Top Leadership Team in Healthcare for large hospitals and health systems from HealthLeaders Media.

Scripps has rebounded in the past eight years to post an operating margin of $100 million in 2007 (compared to $15 million operating losses in 1999) and is now embarking on a $2 billion expansion plan to upgrade its facilities and technologies over the next decade. Scripps has also achieved a remarkable cultural transformation, with employee and physician satisfaction scores rising significantly in recent years, and charitable contributions reaching an all-time high in 2007.

The turnabout has come at the direction of Chris Van Gorder, FACHE, who has been Scripps Health’s president and CEO since 2000. Van Gorder assembled a new management team and rebuilt the health system from scratch on the strength of five core values: teamwork, transparency, accountability, authority and responsibility.
An early catalyst for change at Scripps was the creation of the Physician Leadership Cabinet, an advisory group of physician leaders who meet regularly with hospital administrators. Since the cabinet’s founding, 100 percent of its recommendations have been accepted.

Leadership teamwork has been strengthened by the Scripps Leadership Academy, a management training program that encourages understanding between managers of different units within Scripps.

The HealthLeaders Media Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare 2008 program, sponsored by Cejka Search, CIT, HealthGrades and Pershing Yoakley & Associates, is designed to celebrate the outstanding teamwork that occurs in health care organizations each day, to share what makes top leadership teams successful, and to encourage other health care leaders to learn more from the best practices of top leadership teams. Winners are judged on the leadership team’s overall leadership culture, their ability to overcome challenges, and their ability to demonstrate successes that result from outstanding leadership teamwork. Only one winner per category receives this national honor each year.

“Scripps Health has achieved an amazing financial, quality and stakeholder satisfaction turnaround while establishing a very strong platform for sustainability,” said Top Leadership Teams judge James Stokes, retired CEO of Quorum Health Resources. “This is an organization with exemplary leadership and teamwork with outstanding stability, enthusiasm and commitment.”

Van Gorder said Scripps is honored to be recognized as a national leader in health care. “Our successes over the past eight years have required tremendous teamwork across our health system and every member of my management team shares in this award because of their hard work and the hard work and dedication of their staffs and our affiliated physicians to move Scripps forward,” Van Gorder said.

Other winners in the 2008 Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare program include Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., for community and mid-size hospitals; Lakewood Health System in Staples, Minn., for small hospitals; Bangkok Hospital Medical Center in Thailand for Global Hospitals; HealthTexas Provider Network in Dallas, Texas, for medical group practices; and CareSource Management Group in Dayton, Ohio, for health plans.

HealthLeaders Media Editor-in-Chief Jim Molpus says the 2008 Top Leadership Teams share a commitment to make their leaders mutually accountable for reaching high measures in areas from patient satisfaction to financial performance. “Health care is moving toward an era where transparent results will become increasing crucial for survival,” Molpus said. “Those leadership teams who are already preparing for the era in their own culture will have an advantage in the times ahead.”

The 2008 honorees of the Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare will be featured speakers at the annual Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare Conference and Awards, to be held Oct. 16-17 at The Drake Hotel in Chicago. Along with the winners, more than 40 health care chief executives and team members will share their secrets of teamwork success in focus areas including financial strategy, quality improvement, technology and physician relations. For more information, visit

About HealthLeaders Media
HealthLeaders Media is the premier publisher of information resources for senior-level health care executives, reaching more than 100,000 health care decision-makers nationwide every month. In addition to its flagship monthly journal, HealthLeaders magazine, HealthLeaders Media distributes relevant industry information, practical advice, case-study solutions, and innovative strategies through newsletters, e-mail publications, live events and state-specific healthcare business news services. For more information, visit online at

About Scripps Health
Scripps Health is a $2 billion non-profit community health system based in San Diego, Calif. Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 11,600 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, and an ambulatory care network of clinics, physician offices and outpatient centers. Scripps is recognized nationally for delivering high quality health care and in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research and graduate medical education. In 2007, Scripps committed more than $150 million in capital and facility improvements across the San Diego region, while providing significant charity care to the community — more than $236 million in uncompensated care in 2007. Scripps Health Foundation generated $74 million in charitable donations in 2007 to support the Scripps mission. More information can be found at

Contact: Don Stanziano
Phone: 858-678-7486

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