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Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Cited for Creating ‘Shift in Culture and Re-engineering’ of Health Care

SEATTLE – (April 23, 2012) — Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Medical Center, is ranked No. 2 in Modern Physician and Modern Healthcare’s annual listing of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives.

The list recognizes physician leaders who are thoughtful, visionary and focused on improving quality and patient safety.

This is the seventh time Dr. Kaplan has been named to the list, placing No. 12 last year. More than 2,700 nominations were received and more than 17,000 votes were cast in the process, which accounted for 50 percent of the final outcome. Input from the editors of Modern Healthcare and Modern Physician accounted for the remaining 50 percent in determining the final list.

In announcing the list, writer Andis Robeznieks noted Dr. Kaplan’s leadership in adapting the Toyota Production System to reduce costs while improving quality that resulted in Virginia Mason being named Top Hospital of the Decade by The Leapfrog Group.

Commenting on the list, published in today’s edition of Modern Healthcare and Modern Physician, Donald Fisher, president and CEO of the American Medical Group Association said, "His experiences and outcomes — reductions in waste and improvement in quality — has been noticed," adding that the efforts of Dr. Kaplan have resulted in a "shift in culture and re-engineering of core practices," and that other organizations across the country are now looking at how they can adopt Virginia Mason's methods at their own institutions.

"This achievement is a great honor for Dr. Kaplan and for every physician and staff member at Virginia Mason," said Carolyn Corvi, chair of the Virginia Mason Health System and Virginia Mason Medical Center Boards of Directors. "It recognizes the influence Dr. Kaplan and Virginia Mason have in transforming health care and just how many health care organizations are modeling the Virginia Mason Production System to eliminate waste, improve quality and patient safety, and lower the cost of care."

Dr. Kaplan has served as chairman and CEO of the Virginia Mason Health System since 2000. He 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.

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 450 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.

Awards and distinctions include Top Hospital of the Decade by The Leapfrog Group, 2012 Top Hospital (for the sixth consecutive year) by The Leapfrog Group, 2012 Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence from HealthGrades®, and 2012 America’s 100 Best Specialty Excellence Award for Overall Cardiac and Gastrointestinal Care from HealthGrades.

To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, please visit or or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

To learn more about how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at

For media inquiries, contact:

John Gillespie
Media Relations
(206) 341-1509 (o)
(206) 402-2822 (m)

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