John W. Ashworth III, who helped create Maryland's renowned Shock Trauma Center and the state's pioneering emergency medical system, will become chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center next month, the hospital's parent said yesterday,
Dr. Stephen C. Schimpff, current CEO of the medical center that houses the world's largest trauma unit, will step down March 31, said Dr. Morton I. Rapoport, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical System, which owns the medical center in downtown Baltimore.
Schimpff, who said he wants to spend more time with his family - including an infant grandchild - will remain at the hospital as an executive vice president, overseeing patient safety, emergency preparedness and new operating room technology.
Ashworth, a native of Baltimore, spent a decade in the late 1960s and 1970s helping create the vision of Dr. R Adams Cowley for the nation's first shock trauma unit.
In an interview yesterday, he said his goals as chief executive include recruiting nationally and internationally known physicians, continuing to emphasize specialties such as neurologic care and kidney transplants, and keeping the hospital on the leading edge in its use of technology.
"The key for the success of this medical center is driven by the excellence of the clinical programs and the quality of the care given by the caregivers," Ashworth, 58, said yesterday.
Ashworth, who is not a physician, will oversee a 656-bed medical center that reported a profit of $16.9 million in fiscal 2002 on gross patient revenue of $673.4 million. More than 40 percent of the hospital's beds are devoted to intensive care.
Ashworth has served as the medical center's chief operating officer since 1999. Before that, he was the Shock Trauma Center's director for 17 years. He also has been executive vice president of the medical system and senior vice president for strategic planning.
"The idea is to select the best leader you can find," said Rapoport, president of a medical system that owns five hospitals besides the University of Maryland hospital. "In academic medical centers like ours, sometimes positions go to physicians and sometimes they don't. It depends who's there and who's the right person to put in the job."
Ashworth has overseen hospital expansions, such as the Shock Trauma Center building 14 years ago, the Gudelsky Building, which contains most of the hospital's critical-care facilities , and the soon-to-be-completed Weinberg building, which houses a new emergency room and 18 new "operating rooms of the future," with state-of-the-art technology.
Rapoport, who said last year that he will retire as president and chief executive officer in June next year, said Schimpff's decision to step down as hospital CEO and Ashworth's promotion had nothing to do with his retirement plans.
"What you're seeing is the normal evolution of leadership," Rapoport said. "Steve's decision had no relationship to my decision to retire."
Rapoport credited Schimpff with moving the nearly completed Weinberg building project. Its emergency department opened several weeks ago, and the operating rooms will open next month. Schimpff also has been very involved in enlarging and developing the hospital's cancer center with support of tobacco restitution funds, Rapoport said.
As executive vice president, Schimpff said, he will focus on patient safety, for instance using technology to track medication dosages and patient allergies, and overseeing completion of the 18 surgical suites.
Schimpff has been CEO of the university system's flagship hospital since 1999. The oncologist was a former investigator and head of infectious diseases and microbiology in the National Cancer Institute's Baltimore Cancer Research Center.
In 1982, Schimpff was named director of the University of Maryland Cancer Center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland Medical System. In 1985, he became executive vice president and chief operating officer of the University of Maryland Medical System.