Premier Health turned to one of its own to lead the area’s largest health system in an industry struggling to keep costs down while meeting patient expectations.
James Pancoast, president and chief executive of Premier Health, will retire at the end of 2016, the company announced Wednesday. He will be replaced by Mary Boosalis, who currently serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Premier Health.
Boosalis will become Premier’s first female CEO on Jan. 1, 2017, but will begin her role as president on March 1, the company said.
Pancoast, 61, said he believes he leaves Premier positioned for the future.
“A lot that we’ve been working on over the last six years is starting to come into fruition,” he said.
The health care industry is quickly evolving and Boosalis will lead the transition for Premier Health.
“We’re getting ready for a whole new world of people below the age of 40 who want to access health care electronically,” Pancoast said. “They don’t really want to visit offices, per se. They’ve done that with every other industry that they’ve dealt with, banking or whatever.”
Pancoast joined Premier Health in 1979, and began his time as president and CEO in 2011. He led the health system in its growth of new hospitals and offices in suburban areas and the expansion of Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.
“Jim has led Premier Health with innovative thinking and has put in place many of the foundational pieces that will continue to influence the organization for years to come,” Anita Moore, chair of the Premier Health board of trustees, said in a statement. “He has been a thoughtful leader, always putting the health of the community at the forefront, and he has had the fortitude to take appropriate risks to put in place and accomplish the strategic goals of Premier.”
Boosalis joined Premier in 1986, and has more than 30 years of leadership experience. She began serving in her most recent position in January 2011, the company said.
“Mary Boosalis has achieved an exceptional record of success as a leader with Premier Health,” Moore said.
“I am delighted that the board has named Mary to be the next CEO of Premier Health,” Pancoast said. “Her unparalleled talent, experience and leadership abilities will take Premier well into the future.
Bryan Bucklew, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, said Premier has a history of developing strong leaders, highly regarded locally and across the state.
“I just think it shows the strong culture of leadership that they have over at Premier,” he said.
Bucklew noted that Boosalis has worked as a registered nurse and has both clinical and administrative leadership experience.
“She has seen a lot of change, but she also brings clinical experience,” he said.
Premier leaders credited Pancoast with recognizing that stronger relationships with physicians were key to the future of health care.
“While it is well known that physician leadership at the board and administrative levels is increasing across the country, Jim has taken a lead here to assure that physicians are truly part of the decision-making and leadership in all aspects of the organization,” said Dr. Darin Pangalangan, chair of the Premier Physician Partnership committee.
Premier Health is the Dayton area’s second-largest employer — behind Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — with more than 14,000 employees. The company is the largest health system not just in Dayton, but in Southwestern Ohio, including Cincinnati, Ewing said.
The nonprofit organization operates five hospitals — Middletown’s Atrium Medical Center, Miami Valley Hospital downtown, Miami Valley South in Centerville, Dayton’s Good Samaritan Hospital and Upper Valley Medical Center in Miami County, with outpatient locations and doctor practices across the region. It operates in seven counties.