ON THE MOVE ...
Robert Ritz was named president of Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines (Iowa). Ritz, 51, is president and CEO of St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Ill., operated by Springfield-based Hospital Sisters Health System. In Des Moines, he takes over leadership from who has been the hospital’s president and Dave Vellinga, CEO for the past 15 years and also serves as a division leader for Mercy’s parent, Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives. Vellinga, 63, will retain that position as well as the role of president and CEO of Mercy Health Network Iowa, an integrated network co-sponsored by CHI and Trinity Health, headquartered in Livonia, Mich. Vellinga also will remain chairman of the University of Iowa Health Alliance. Ritz is expected to join Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines in July. He was named one of Modern Healthcare’s Up & Comers in 1999.
Veteran physician informaticist 64, former Dr. Robert Kolodner, head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, was named VP and chief medical officer at ViTel Net, McLean, Va., a provider of telehealth software and services. Kolodner led the ONC as interim director in 2006 and then as director from 2007 to April 2009. After leaving government, he was chief technical officer for Open Health Tools. A psychiatrist, he also served at the Veterans Affairs Department in various capacities, including chief medical information officer, and helped develop its VistA electronic health-record system. He started May 6.
Dr. Otis Bowen, a former Indiana governor and the first physician to serve as HHS secretary, died May 5 at age 95. Bowen died at a nursing home in Donaldson, Ind., near his hometown of Bremen, according to a statement from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Bowen, affectionately known as “Doc” for his pre-public service life as a family doctor in Bremen, was first elected to office in 1952 as Marshall County’s coroner. His political rise would eventually lead to the governor’s office, a position he held from 1973 until 1981. In December 1985, with the Reagan administration facing criticism over its response to the AIDS epidemic, Bowen was appointed HHS secretary. In that role, Bowen stressed educating the public about the dangers of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. During a 1987 news conference, Bowen offered what has become oftrepeated safe-sex advice: “Remember, when a person has sex, they’re not just having it with that partner, they’re having it with everybody that partner had it with for the past 10 years.”