February 21, 1997
Media Contact: Elaine Freeman
Phone: (410) 955-3194

Ronald R. Peterson has been appointed president of The Johns Hopkins Health System, effective February 15, 1997. He has served as the Health System's acting president since September and as president of The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center since 1984. In December, he was named president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Health System board approved Peterson's newest post upon the recommendation of George L. Bunting, Jr., chairman of the boards of Johns Hopkins Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Health System and The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Edward D. Miller Jr., M.D., CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, dean of the medical faculty of The Johns Hopkins University and vice chairman of The Johns Hopkins Health System.

In a letter announcing Peterson's appointment as Health System president, Bunting and Miller said: "This new position is a fitting accompaniment to Ron's roles as President of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He also serves as chairman of the Johns Hopkins Medical Services Corporation, another key component of the Health System, and a director of the board of the Johns Hopkins Home Care Group.

"In short, no one knows the Health System better. Equally important as we develop our integrated delivery system, Ron is trusted and respected as a health care administrator both at Hopkins and throughout the region. It has been our privilege to work with him during the formative year of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and we expect great things to come from our continued collaboration."

In December, when he was named tenth president of Hopkins Hospital -- rated the nation's best for six consecutive years by U.S.News & World Report -- Peterson told his colleagues that the appointment was "an honor I never anticipated when I arrived here in 1973 as an administrative resident." He likened his 23 years at Johns Hopkins to belonging to an enormous extended family, or an exuberant sports team on a winning streak. "I must admit that taking over as President at this point in history is like becoming quarterback just as the goalposts are moved," he said.

To confront successfully "the simultaneous onslaught of the managed care juggernaut and drastic changes in Medicaid and other government reimbursement formulas," he launched a team effort to organize all operations around patient care, with clinical care supported by responsive, streamlined operations. At Johns Hopkins Bayview, Peterson directed a $100 million physical redevelopment program and turned a $7 million a year loss under City ownership into a positive bottom line performance averaging $5 million a year. In June 1995, he was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Johns Hopkins Health System, in order to bring stronger coordination and cohesion to its operations and strategic planning.

A graduate of The Johns Hopkins University, with a master's degree in hospital administration from The George Washington University, Peterson, 48, began his career at Hopkins Hospital in 1973 as an administrative resident and became administrator of the Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic in 1974 and later of the Hopkins Children's Center and of Hopkins Hospital's Cost Improvement Program.

Peterson has served as a director of the Administrative Board of the Council of Teaching Hospitals, a component of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and has served on or chaired numerous committees for the Maryland Hospital Association. A member of the Mayor's Business Advisory Council in Baltimore, his civic activities also have included volunteer work for the American Red Cross, the United Way, the American Heart Association, and the church and school in Harford County attended by his family. A native of New Brunswick, N.J., he lives in Blair, Md., with his wife, Elizabeth "Rooney" Peterson, and their teen-aged son and daughter, Joey and Susie.

The Johns Hopkins Health System was formed in 1986 to coordinate a vertically integrated delivery system covering the full spectrum of patient care. Wholly owned subsidiaries include The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (including the Johns Hopkins Geriatrics Center) and Johns Hopkins Medical Services Corporation. The Health System and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are joint owners of the Johns Hopkins Home Care Group and Johns Hopkins HealthCare and together have developed the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center and Johns Hopkins at Green Spring Station.

The Health System's two hospitals include 1,356 licensed acute care beds and 369 skilled nursing and other special beds. During FY96, more than 55,000 patients were discharged from its acute care beds, and it provided $73 million in uncompensated care. The Health System's FY96 consolidated net revenue was $906.6 million. Its components had a total of 9,000 employees, including nurses but excluding physicians and house staff who are employed by the School of Medicine.

Last year, trustees of the Health System and JHU School of Medicine agreed to delegate some of their authority to an alliance called Johns Hopkins Medicine in order to compete more effectively in the era of managed care. The president of the Health System now reports to the CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, who is also dean of the medical faculty. The Health System president is an ex officio member of the board of Johns Hopkins Medicine and of the board's operating committee, as well as a member of the executive group for Hopkins Medicine.

-- JHMI --
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