New CEO on Job at FirstHealth
David J. Kilarski “took the reins” from Charles T. Frock on Monday, and is off and running as the new CEO at FirstHealth of the Carolinas.
Kilarski sent a letter to employees, medical staff and volunteers on his first day on the job, essentially telling them how much he looks “forward to working closely with you ... to ensure that FirstHealth remains the first-class health care system it has become.”
“Working together, our team will continue to fulfill our core purpose and build on FirstHealth’s legacy of high-quality health care services for the people and communities we serve,” Kilarski said.
Headquartered in Pinehurst, the comprehensive nonprofit health system has more than 4,100 employees and serves 15 counties.
Kilarski said he plans to visit all of FirstHealth’s facilities, including its hospitals in Montgomery and Richmond counties, during his first weeks on the job.
“During my visits, I want to learn about what you do every day and what I can do to support you,” he said in the letter.
Kilarski acknowledged that FirstHealth faces the same challenges that all health care providers face — lower federal and state reimbursement, a growing number of people without insurance who need care, and the “huge” uncertainty about health care reform.
“However, FirstHealth has faced similar challenges in the past and has met them,” he said. “By working together, we will do so again.”
Kilarski, 55, comes to FirstHealth from Ohio, where he formerly served as president and CEO of South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville Heights, and Marymount Hospital and Marymount Health Care Systems in Garfield Heights.
He was instrumental in leading the two Cleveland Clinic hospitals to achieve national recognition, and had responsibility for health system hospitals with combined net operating revenue of $330 million.
That number is more than $500 million at FirstHealth, a fact that Kilarski attributes to Frock and his two decades of leadership.
“Chuck’s vision, fortitude and contributions to FirstHealth are to be commended,” Kilarski said in the letter. “With his leadership and your commitment, FirstHealth’s reputation for quality and service rivals that of many larger, nationally known health care systems.
“I consider it an honor to take the reins from this accomplished and dedicated health care leader.”
Frock, who has been credited with propelling FirstHealth to the forefront in regional health care delivery, retired last Friday.
Kilarski, a fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives, has more than 20 years of executive experience in the health care industry, including leadership roles in community hospitals, academic medical centers and multi-hospital systems.
Kilarski, who grew up in a suburb of Chicago, earned his master’s degree from Ohio State University and a bachelor of pharmacy degree from the University of Illinois. He began his career as a pharmacist at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Ill., eventually becoming director of pharmacy.
He then took the same job at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Amarillo, Texas, where he was later promoted to chief operating officer of the 300-bed hospital. When St. Anthony’s merged with High Plains Baptist Hospital in 1996, Kilarski was appointed executive vice president of the new 420-bed, multi-state health system.
In March 2003, Kilarski became president and CEO of Marymount Hospital and Marymount Health Care Systems. He was appointed president of South Pointe Hospital in October 2006.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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