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Jefferson Health CEO Announces Retirement

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   October 21, 2021

Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, will retire from his position as CEO of Jefferson Health and president of Thomas Jefferson University at the end of the year.

Jefferson Health recently announced that leadership changes will be coming at the end of the year.

Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, CEO of the health system and president of Thomas Jefferson University, will retire on December 31. He will remain as a special advisor to the Jefferson Board of Trustees through the 2022 fiscal year, with a focus on the organization's innovation and philanthropy pillars.

H. Richard Haverstick, Jr., emeritus board trustee, will serve as interim president and CEO beginning on January 1, while the board leads a national search for Klasko's successor.

Klasko, who has led the Philadelphia-based health system for the past eight years, is stepping down to focus on the reform of the American healthcare system and to "create a new system of health assurance which helps patients and families live their best lives," according to a press release.

"Dr. Klasko has been tireless in his entrepreneurial drive … [and] his commitment to diversity, inclusion, and community engagement," Patricia D. Wellenbach, Jefferson's board of trustees' chair, said in a statement. "His efforts in launching the Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity have made meaningful progress in addressing the health disparities of the city’s residents. We have an incredibly strong and dedicated management team to carry on the Klasko legacy, and we thank him for all he has done for Jefferson."

During his tenure, Klasko played a key role in the 2017 merger of Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University. He also oversaw the health system expand from three hospitals to 18 since 2013, which grew annual revenues from $1.5 billion to more than $6.7 billion. He also led efforts in healthcare and telehealth access, and in 2014 JeffConnect® was established, creating one of the largest telehealth specialty services which became key in providing healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish at Jefferson. Our unique four-pillar model of academics, clinical, innovation, and philanthropy helped transform the organization into the innovative, entrepreneurial model we have today," Klasko said in a statement. "Our Board of Trustees took the bold step in 2013 to take the organization in a new direction, and I thank them, my management colleagues, and all of our Jefferson faculty, students and staff for all they have done to drive our success. I have been blessed to work alongside a group of trustees from 2013 to today that understand Jefferson’s incredibly important role in advancing education and health care for ALL Philadelphians."

Melanie Blackman is the strategy editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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