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  Gary S. Kaplan, Chairman and CEO
Gary S. Kaplan, MD, Chairman and CEO

SEATTLE – April 22, 2013 —Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and chief executive officer of the Virginia Mason Health System, has been named one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives in Healthcare for the eighth time by readers and senior editors of Modern Physician and Modern Healthcare national magazines.

Dr. Kaplan is ranked No. 6 on the 2013 list, published in the April 22 edition of Modern Physician. He is the only physician executive in Washington state to make the prestigious list. “I am deeply honored by this recognition,” Dr. Kaplan said.

The Most Influential Physician Executives program annually recognizes physician leaders who are thoughtful, visionary and focused on improving quality and patient safety. Readers of the magazines nominate and vote for executives they view as most influential; 58,000 ballots were cast this year. Readers’ votes counted for 50 percent of the outcome. The expert opinions of senior editors at the magazines accounted for the remaining 50 percent. Oregon Gov. John A. Kitzhaber, MD, is ranked No. 1 this year.

Dr. Kaplan has served as chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason since 2000. In 2001, Virginia Mason became the first in the U.S. to adapt principles of the Toyota Production System as the framework for managing a medical center. Called the Virginia Mason Production System, it is an innovative approach for identifying waste, improving efficiency and safety, and elevating quality.

“I am proud of what the teams across Virginia Mason have accomplished as we strive to transform health care,” said Dr. Kaplan, who received a medical degree from the University of Michigan and is board certified in internal medicine.

In addition to his patient-care duties and position as chairman and CEO, Dr. Kaplan is a clinical professor at the University of Washington and has been recognized for his service and contribution to many regional and national boards, including the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the National Patient Safety Foundation, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Healthcare Forum. Dr. Kaplan is a founding member of Health CEOs for Health Reform.

In 2009, Dr. Kaplan received the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award from the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission Award for Individual Achievement at the national level for his outstanding work and commitment to patient safety and quality. Additionally, he was recognized by MGMA as the recipient of the Harry J. Harwick Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Dr. Kaplan’s leadership and influence are reflected in the high quality care that physicians, nurses and staff provide to our patients every day,” said Jim Young, chair of the Virginia Mason Health System Board of Directors. “Under his leadership, Virginia Mason has become an international leader in health care innovation, quality, service and patient safety. This work is being highlighted in multiple ways, including through recognition from The Leapfrog Group, which named Virginia Mason one of two Hospitals of the Decade, and Healthgrades, which named Virginia Mason a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence.”

The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Survey is considered the gold standard for comparing hospitals’ performance on the national standards of safety, quality, and efficiency that are most relevant to consumers and purchasers of care.

Healthgrades is the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,300 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 460 physicians; satellite locations throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste and improve quality and patient safety.

To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, please visit or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter. To learn how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509

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