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Nathan asks to step aside as Lee Health president/CEO

By Staff | Apr 28, 2017


The Board of Directors will discuss Nathan’s request, the appointment of an interim president/CEO and a plan to appoint a successor, at its next regularly scheduled board meeting on May 4. The meeting is open to the public and public comment will be accepted. The meeting, which will begin at 1 p.m., has been moved to the Community Room at Gulf Coast Medical Center to better accommodate the anticipated turnout.

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Lee Health president/CEO Jim Nathan has asked the health system board to accept his request to step aside.

Nathan said he would like to relinquish his position as president/CEO and finish the remaining two years of his contract as a resource to the Board of Directors and senior administration.

The new role would become effective June 1 and continue through the end of Nathan’s contract, March 19, 2019. Nathan would retain benefits and accrued benefits but will not be paid any additional compensation.

In this new role, Nathan would be “on call” to perform duties as determined by the Board or president/CEO. Nathan asked the Board to approve his new role as part of his succession plan and due to a desire to work at a different pace than he has for the past 40 plus years.

“The timing feels right to make this transition. I am proud of the impressive team we have assembled and feel that Lee Health is prepared for the challenges of a rapidly changing health care delivery system and the ‘future world’ of coordinated care and population health,” Nathan said.

The Board of Directors will discuss Nathan’s request, the appointment of an interim president/CEO and a plan to appoint a successor at the next regularly scheduled board meeting on May 4.

“Jim’s legacy to this community cannot be overstated. It was his leadership and vision that grew Lee Health from a single hospital to one of the nation’s largest public health systems,” said Sanford Cohen, M.D., Chairman of the Lee Health Board of Directors. “Jim has expertly piloted Lee Health to significant success during his tenure, and has assembled a talented management team. We are pleased that his new role as a resource to the Board and administration allows Lee Health the continued benefit of his strategic leadership.”

The May 4 meeting is open to the public and public comment will be accepted. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. in the medical office building at Gulf Coast Medical Center at 13685 Doctors Way, Fort Myers.

Nathan joined Lee Memorial Hospital in 1975 as an administrative resident and was promoted to vice president for Institutional Services in 1976. He was appointed as president of Lee Memorial Hospital in 1982. In 1997, Nathan temporarily left the health system to take a consulting role in pursuit of national health care reform and to assist senior leadership teams. He returned to the role of president/CEO of Lee Health in 2000.

Nathan’s legacy is one of innovation, vision, and accomplishment, officials said.

Selected career highlights include:

Opened America’s newest children’s hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and expanded pediatric services throughout the region

Completed a $100 million fundraising campaign for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, the largest capital campaign completed in the history of southwest Florida

Improved access to health care in a growing community through expansion of Lee Physician Group, skilled nursing facilities, home health services, and outpatient facilities

Acquired Cape Coral Hospital, Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center and Gulf Coast Hospital, which improved coordination of care and secured a solid financial footing to enable the health system’s mission to provide care, regardless of ability to pay

Added high-risk safety net programs to keep care close to home, such as the Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center and the Regional Trauma Center

Formed LeeSar and Cooperative Services of Florida, group purchasing and supply chain management organizations that drive down health care costs in southwest Florida

Developed the Regional Cancer Center, which is now being expanded

Expanded Gulf Coast Medical Center in 2009 with a further expansion now underway

System-wide implementation of Epic, a state of the art comprehensive electronic medical record

Created Lee Community Healthcare, one of Florida’s first Federally Qualified Health Center Look Alike programs, providing primary care access to the uninsured and underinsured

Founded Healthy Lee (Health Visioning 2017) including nationally recognized programs like the Bob Janes Triage Center and We Care, the nation’s largest volunteer physician program

Established the Healthy Life Center at Coconut Point, a fresh concept for wellness and prevention

Grew hospital auxiliary programs to more than 4,000 members/volunteers

Positioned Lee Health to pursue population health initiatives such as a Medicaid provider service network and Medicare Accountable Care Organization

Developed HealthPark Florida and HealthPark Medical Center, which were innovative concepts and designs when they were being developed in 1991

Nathan has been recognized many times for his leadership, including Person of Distinction for the Past 25 Years by the News-Press Media Group, Distinguished Citizen Good Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America’s Southwest Florida Council and the Horizon Council’s Hall of Fame. He was inaugurated into the Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, selected as one of the Men and Women of the Decade by Gulfshore Life magazine, recognized as A Champion of the Movement by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee and received the Clara Barton Humanitarian Award by the American Red Cross. In May, Nathan will receive the Gulfshore Business Lifetime Achievement Award.

During his career, Nathan has been active in many civic activities. Current and past board member positions include the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, Foundation for Lee County Schools, American Heart Association of Lee County, Red Cross of Lee County, Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida of which he was the Founding Chairman.

Nathan has also been active in industry associations, including board and committee positions with the Hospital Safety Net Alliance of Florida, Florida Hospital Association and the American Hospital Association. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.