- Greg Adams, who stepped in as acting CEO of integrated health system Kaiser Permanente following the unexpected death of its previous CEO Bernard Tyson, was appointed full-time chairman and CEO Tuesday.
- Adams has been at the nonprofit for over two decades. The executive has overseen the operations of health plan and hospitals in all eight Kaiser Permanente regions as an EVP and group president since 2016, including Kaiser's Medicare care delivery strategy nationwide.
- Adams will have to navigate a slew of speedbumps facing the Oakland, California-based company, including an unfriendly regulatory and political environment, mounting concerns over the company's nonprofit status and workforce troubles, including a planned strike later this month.
Healthcare circles were rocked in November by the sudden passing of Tyson, a giant in the industry known for his support of the beleaguered Affordable Care Act and efforts to tackle social determinants of health.
"It is truly an honor to be named Chairman and CEO of this amazing organization and follow Bernard," Adams said in a statement.
Adams started his career as a director of nursing at a medical center in Nevada. Adams then worked in administration at a handful of hospitals and health systems before landing at Kaiser in 1999, as a SVP overseeing a region in Southern California, per his LinkedIn.
As EVP and group president, Adams was directly responsible for 12 million members in Kaiser plans, while overseeing the operations of 39 hospitals and more than 700 medical offices.
The 75-year-old Kaiser is one of the nation's largest healthcare systems and generates more than $82 billion in annual revenue. It took in profits of $5.2 billion in the first half of the year alone, which according to data from SEIU California, a union critical of Kaiser, is more than it reported in an entire year since its founding more than seven decades ago.
In the third quarter of 2019, Kaiser reported an additional $1.2 billion in profit, fueling accusations of underfunding charity care and worker pay. California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed a bill in September to force Kaiser to give greater transparency in its financial disclosures, including breaking out expenses and revenue for its hospitals on a per-facility basis.
Adams will also have to manage testy labor relations: A strike of 85,000 Kaiser employees was narrowly averted in September following months of negotiation between the union and Kaiser leadership.
Another strike over alleged barriers to mental health treatment — briefly delayed following Tyson's death — is now scheduled to begin Dec. 16 and could shut down services at 100 Kaiser clinics across California.
However, the Alliance of Health Care Unions, which represents almost 50,000 Kaiser employees, took to Twitter to applaud the board's choice in Adams.
Greg Adams is the best choice to lead KP seamlessly and boldly forward. We are confident that with Greg’s record of commitment to labor management partnership, together we will continue to ensure that Kaiser Permanente is the best place to receive care and the best place to work.— Alliance of Health Care Unions (@AHCunions) December 11, 2019