Hennepin County health system loses CEO

  • Article by: JACKIE CROSBY
  • Star Tribune
  • July 26, 2012 - 11:01 PM

Hennepin County Healthcare System is on the hunt for a new leader after announcing Thursday that CEO Arthur Gonzalez has resigned to take the top job at a public health system in Denver.

The organization, a public subsidiary of the county, operates Hennepin County Medical Center and nine other clinics in the west metro area. Board Chairman David Jones will take over as interim CEO.

Gonzalez came to Hennepin Healthcare in 2009, after leading a public health system in Oceanside, Calif. Gonzalez said that the challenge of working in a larger system and being closer to family were the main factors in his resignation, according to a hospital spokesman.

Sharon Sayles Belton, vice chairwoman of the board and former mayor of Minneapolis, will lead the board during the search for a permanent replacement.

Jones, a former executive at Allina Hospitals, retired in 2002 and is not expected to apply for the position.

Gonzalez oversaw the recent merger of the doctors group, Hennepin Faculty Associates, into Hennepin Healthcare. The group, with about 1,000 employees and 340 physicians, had operated independent of HCMC, the state's largest trauma center and a teaching hospital, for nearly three decades. With the clinicians now on the payroll, the merger is expected to save about $9 million a year for the first two years, according to the county.

Under Gonzalez's watch, the county made a much bigger push into the community, where it had operated only a handful of clinics when he took over.

Hennepin County Healthcare System now operates primary care clinics in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Richfield, St. Anthony and Minneapolis as well as clinics in Wal-Mart stores in Bloomington and Eden Prairie. It also has a specialty neurology clinic in Chaska.

Hennepin County Healthcare System, prior to the January merger with Hennepin Faculty Associates, had about $590 million in revenue in 2011. HFA's budget was about $150 million. Total revenue for the combined operation is expected to be $732 million in 2012.

As interim CEO, Jones will earn $50,000 per month, with no benefits. Gonzalez's annual salary was $498,600.

Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335

© 2018 Star Tribune