CHRISTINA FREESE-DECKER, 37

Pres­i­dent Spec­trum Health Hos­pi­tal Group

Modern Healthcare - - 2015 UP & COMERS - —Lisa Schencker

“She’s some­body who has been suc­cess­ful at ev­ery level, and she’s now run­ning a $2 bil­lion op­er­a­tion and han­dling that very well.” —Richard Breon, CEO

It’s not un­com­mon for health lead­ers to hold a master’s de­gree in health ad­min­is­tra­tion.

But in­dus­trial en­gi­neer­ing?

Christina Freese-Decker, pres­i­dent of Spec­trum Health Hos­pi­tal Group, has both. “I felt it would be valu­able to healthcare, with all the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties there, to un­der­stand the com­po­nents it would take to re­ally im­pact change and im­prove our pro­cesses,” she said.

Over her 13 years at the West Michigan not-for-profit health sys­tem, she’s worked in strate­gic plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment and as a hos­pi­tal pres­i­dent. In 2014, she took on her cur­rent role lead­ing the full group of 12 hos­pi­tals and 182 am­bu­la­tory and ser­vice sites. Un­der her lead­er­ship in fis­cal 2015, Spec­trum’s hos­pi­tal group at­tained an op­er­at­ing mar­gin that was $89 mil­lion bet­ter than what had been bud­geted, and $97 mil­lion bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous year.

The mother of two has risen quickly through the or­ga­ni­za­tion based on her suc­cesses, said Richard Breon, Spec­trum Health CEO, who nom­i­nated Freese-Decker for the award. But then she has al­ways stood out. Freese-Decker be­gan at Spec­trum as an ad­min­is­tra­tive fel­low af­ter grad­u­ate school, and had job of­fers from within the or­ga­ni­za­tion af­ter only a cou­ple of months.

“She’s some­body who has been suc­cess­ful at ev­ery level, and she’s now run­ning a $2 bil­lion op­er­a­tion and han­dling that very well,” Breon said.

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