CEO of IU Health retires after 14 years

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Dan Evans

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 21, 2016) — April 29 marks the end of Dan Evans leadership as CEO of IU Health. During his 14 years at the helm of this statewide system, which employs over 33,000 people with 2,100 physicians, IU Health has undergone numerous changes.

He recently sat down with CBS4 to talk about projects and issues in healthcare he faced and will be faced by his successor, Dennis Murphy.

CBS4 met with Dan Evans in a boardroom at Methodist Hospital downtown. Trained as an attorney, he took over the helm of the state’s largest healthcare system in 2002, and helped navigate the unification of Methodist, Riley, the IU Schools of Medicine and Nursing into one entity.

“IU Health on the size side is one of the largest in the country. On the complexity side, there are not many institutions in the country that are academic health systems.  It’s very easy to treat this like a business. But it is a business in the sense that it has to be sustainable. But people do have choice. At the end of the day, every patient is different. We’re not manufacturing products. We’re dealing with folks from different backgrounds, different disease states and different expectations,” said Evans.

One massive change in healthcare overall has been the Affordable Healthcare Act.  Evans said it has impacted just about every aspect of delivering health.

“The focus now is, what are you doing, how are you doing it, what are the outcomes and how much does it cost,” said Evans. “It calls for transparency. And transparency is a very good thing.”

Evans says AHA is changing our culture.

“Hospital billing and pricing, pharma billing and pricing, medical device bill and pricing is opaque. So the more light that can be cast on it, the better. The hard part of it is, understanding  it. So now we’re on a mission at IU Health to lend clarity to the transparency. If it helps the patient, it’ll help us. Actually our mission is to reduce the amount of acute care we deliver.  We want to keep people well, treat them when they’re sick. That’s a sea change. We are now held accountable by society for the continuum of care. It’s not just the acute care episode,” said Evans.

It’s been no secret that IU Health has built more facilities over Evans’ tenure.  He defended the decisions to do that.

“The evidence shows the hospitals are fairly well utilized in the metropolitan areas. But I can’t speak for the entire state,” said Evans.

In 2014, several nurses were involved in the attempted unionization of their profession.  Evans said he learned of it from some of the nurses himself.

“I first became aware of the problem Christmas Day 2014 when I was here, rounding among the nurses. These nurses are friends of mine in this building. They told me. So I went back to my office and did some consultations and found that we had some challenges that we had to address, so we have done that,” said Evans.

Evans says Indianapolis will remain his home. It’s where his four children reside. He’ll remain active in healthcare and will become an adjunct professor with the IU School of Medicine.

“On the personal side, I’ve learned the power of gratitude, simply saying to people who do things that are important to other people, thank you for what you do,” said Evans.

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