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January 11, 2021 (Cleveland)

The Center for Health Affairs Announces New Organizational Alignment to Support Growth



The Center for Health Affairs, together with its business affiliates CHAMPS Group Purchasing, CHAMPS Oncology and The Essentials Group, today announced a new organizational alignment plan, including several key leadership changes, designed to propel future strategic growth and drive service excellence and success.

“We are on a journey to transform our organization and the communities we serve,” said Brian Lane, president and CEO of The Center for Health Affairs and CHAMPS. “We are strategically positioning our team to meet our mission as a convener, collaborator,  influencer, and innovator while achieving operational excellence. These steps are necessary to drive sustainable growth within but also to leverage the talents of our people in support of our partners in the region and across the country.”

Under the new structure, Mario Franco has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer for The Center and CHAMPS. Formerly The Center’s senior vice president of finance and operations, Franco will provide the necessary leadership to ensure success across the organization. Franco will oversee the execution of the strategic plan for The Center and its business affiliates.  

“Since joining The Center, Mario has proven himself an exceptionally talented, innovative and forward-looking leader with a keen understanding of the critical details of the organization. His leadership and strategic aptitude are unparalleled,” said Lane. “More importantly, Mario is a leader who served our country for 20 years as a member of the U.S. military and continues to serve our community as a board member of Esperanza. He is a true example of our values. I am confident Mario will position our core businesses for success for another 100 years.”

Tracy Wise has been promoted to senior vice president of business operations and administration for The Center and CHAMPS. In her new role, Wise will lead business operations, including The Center’s shared services teams, to enhance operational excellence and generate new revenue opportunities for the organization. Wise formerly served as vice president of CHAMPS Group Purchasing. This new structure provides the opportunity to promote Maria Summers to director of CHAMPS Group Purchasing. Summers will assume the responsibilities of managing the GPO field team and daily operations of the business line.

“These promotions are great examples of our commitment to growing our talent,” explained Franco. “As leaders on the GPO team for more than 10 years, Tracy and Maria have set the bar for exceptional customer service and a commitment to adding value for our members. Their creativity in providing value was most recently on display through the creation of a give back campaign that brings savings to Northeast Ohio businesses on the supplies necessary to operate a business, enabling them to invest the savings back into their organizations, while donating a portion of their earnings to select Northeast Ohio nonprofits.”

The organizational changes also include the promotion of Lesley Forneris to People Officer. Formerly the director of human resources, Forneris in her expanded role will provide leadership of The Center’s commitment to diversity and talent development.

“We have been honored as one of the 2020 Crain’s Best Employers in Ohio under Lesley’s leadership,” stated Lane. “She is an advocate for The Center’s employees and has a passion for enabling others to achieve professional growth goals and empowering them to contribute to the future of The Center.”

Several key team members who support the operations of The Center have also moved into new positions to create a strong organizational foundation. Collectively representing more than 100 years of service to The Center, these team members include:

  • Ariel Rhea, director, Commercial Operations
  • Chris Zupancic, fee analyst, Financial Operations
  • Debbie Curtis, director, Financial Operations
  • Denise Fore, office administrator, Commercial Operations
  • Jan Elder, director, Contracting Services
  • Jeremy Funnel, network infrastructure lead, Information Technology
  • John McLeod, director, Information Technology
  • Kevin Disbrow, business data analyst, Data Hub
  • Mike Williams, IT user support and cyber manager, Information Technology
  • Tim Andrejcak, business process lead, Commercial Operations

The newly aligned roles will enable The Center to meet its ambitious strategic objectives, explained Lane. With this new path forward, The Center seeks to create clear lines of communication, elevate the awareness of operational efficiencies and, most importantly, increase client and member support.

For more on The Center’s new organizational alignment plan, contact us.

About The Center for Health Affairs: With a rich history as the nation’s first regional hospital association, The Center for Health Affairs has served as the collective voice of Northeast Ohio hospitals for more than 100 years. The Center continues the legacy of its founders, working collaboratively to increase the efficiency of healthcare delivery, providing insightful healthcare information to the public, and undertaking initiatives aimed at improving the health of the community. The Center’s business affiliates are CHAMPS Group Purchasing, CHAMPS Oncology and The Essentials Group.

TWEETABLE: The Center for Health Affairs, the 105-Year-Old Northeast Ohio Hospital Association, Announces New Organizational Alignment to Support Growth

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