Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 3, 1996

In Brief:
President of Johns
Hopkins Hospital to
leave post

James A. Block, president and CEO of The Johns Hopkins Health System and The Johns Hopkins Hospital during four of the six years it was nationally ranked "Best Hospital," has announced plans to relinquish his Hopkins positions in mid-September.

Block cited the virtual merger of the Health System and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as the motivating factor behind his decision.

In a letter to employees, Block said: "Historically, Johns Hopkins Medicine (the Hospital/Health System and the School of Medicine) was made up of two institutions with two governing boards. Given the magnitude and rapidity of external change, ... trustees of both the University and the Health System have recommended a single governing structure, with a combined leadership and a Board of Trustees focused solely on the academic medical center..." He added: "This is the right decision, and I want to do everything possible to facilitate the very exciting virtual merger of these two big institutions and the restructuring of their leadership."

Noting his long career in health care management, Block withdrew himself from consideration for the new, combined position, because "to bring these two strong organizations together, the leader must have strong academic credentials," as well as business credentials. "It is important to the faculty that their leader be a person who has held a major academic position," he said.

"I have had a marvelous career in management, enhanced by my time at Hopkins, but have not pursued an academic career. Recognizing this, ... it is time for me to explore other opportunities."

In accepting the resignation, George L. Bunting Jr., chairman of the Johns Hopkins Medicine board, acknowledged Block's "significant contributions to Johns Hopkins," including development of a suburban satellite--Johns Hopkins at Green Spring Station; launching of a company--Employee Health Plans--to manage care for self-insured employers, and completion of plans for a new Cancer Center.

"Additionally, he initiated important reengineering to allow us to be responsive to a managed care environment, while ensuring that the quality of patient care at Johns Hopkins continues to make us the number one hospital in the United States," Bunting said.

"In short, Dr. Block has accomplished what we asked him to do--and more--and has my deepest thanks," Bunting added. At the request of the trustees, Block will remain as a consultant to them.

"This is truly an extraordinary organization with a justifiably world-renowned faculty and staff," Block wrote to his employees. "It has been an honor to serve as your leader. I'm sure that, under the new management team, you will continue to reflect the excellence that people have come to expect from Johns Hopkins, so that, in the words spoken at the dedication of The Johns Hopkins Hospital more than a century ago, these combined institutions can continue 'to make life happier for millions now living and yet unborn.'"

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