Search Virginia Mason News

SEATTLE – (May 12, 2014) — Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD, has been named one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders in Healthcare for the ninth time by Modern Healthcare magazine.

  Gary S. Kaplan, MD
Gary S. Kaplan, MD

Dr. Kaplan is ranked No. 3 on this year’s list, published in today’s edition of the national magazine.

The Most Influential Physician Executives program recognizes physician leaders who are thoughtful, visionary and focused on improving quality and patient safety. Readers of the magazine nominate and vote for executives they view as most influential. Readers’ votes count for 50 percent of the outcome. The opinions of senior editors account for the remaining 50 percent.

“I am proud of this recognition and very grateful to have the opportunity to lead the Virginia Mason team as we continue working to transform health care,” said Dr. Kaplan.

He has served as chairman and chief executive officer of Virginia Mason since 2000. He is also chair of the National Patient Safety Foundation Board of Directors, chair of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Board of Directors, and chair of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is a founding member of Health CEOs for Health Reform.

In 2002, under Dr. Kaplan’s guidance, Virginia Mason became the first health system in the U.S. to adapt the philosophy and principles of the Toyota Production System to identify and eliminate waste, elevate quality and safety, and improve efficiency in its delivery of health care. This culture-changing approach to excellence has helped Virginia Mason earn numerous national accolades, including designation as a Top Hospital of the Decade in 2010 by The Leapfrog Group, a national, independent business organization. Virginia Mason is also annually ranked among the best hospitals in the U.S. by Leapfrog, Healthgrades and other organizations.

“Virginia Mason’s status as the quality leader reflects Dr. Kaplan’s influence,” said Jim Young, chair of the Virginia Mason Health System Board of Directors. “His leadership has molded the dedication of teams across our organization to providing the highest quality and safest care for our patients.”

In March, England Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt described Virginia Mason as one of the safest hospitals in the world as he unveiled new safety measures for the National Health Service of England. His proposals — which he announced during a special visit to Virginia Mason — were inspired in part by safety and quality initiatives implemented during Dr. Kaplan’s tenure as chief executive officer. 

“Virginia Mason’s journey to make heath care better and safer is far from over,” said Dr. Kaplan. “We are using the successes we’ve had thus far to fuel our commitment to continuous improvement and accomplishing even more for patients.”

Learn more about Dr. Kaplan.

About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,600 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, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety.

To learn more about Virginia Mason, 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:
Michelle Peterson
Virginia Mason Communications and Public Relations
(206) 583-6581  

Back to Search