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UnityPoint Health’s president and CEO to step down; Thompson named interim


UnityPoint Health announced today that President and CEO Kevin Vermeer has chosen to step down from those positions, effective April 30, to pursue other opportunities. Vermeer has held leadership positions with the West Des Moines-based regional health system for more than 20 years. 

Sue Thompson (pictured), senior vice president of Integration and Optimization and CEO of UnityPoint Accountable Care, has accepted the UnityPoint Health board of directors’ request to serve as interim CEO as a national search is conducted for a permanent replacement.

UnityPoint Health is the nation’s 13th-largest nonprofit health system and the fourth-largest nondenominational health system in America, providing care to both metropolitan and rural communities across Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin. 

Vermeer accomplished a great deal in various regional and system leadership roles, including as chief financial officer on the Waterloo and Quad Cities regions and as CFO and then chief strategy officer of UnityPoint Health, before being named CEO more than four years ago. 

He was instrumental in developing many initiatives during his tenure with UnityPoint, including shaping the organization’s population health strategy, negotiating a joint operating agreement with UW Health in Wisconsin, forming partnerships in the care financing area, and forming a common set of values throughout the organization with the creation and implementation of the FOCUS values, UnityPoint said in a press release. 

“We greatly appreciate Kevin’s leadership and service over the past 20-plus years,” said Randy Easton, chairman of the UnityPoint Health board of directors. “Continued strong, innovative leadership is critical now more than ever before and we are fortunate to have Sue Thompson taking the helm during this time of transition.” 

In addition to her many years of experience as a bedside nurse, Thompson brings to the role more than 30 years of extensive leadership experience at UnityPoint Health in regional operations and clinical performance improvement. Most recently, she has played an integral part in UnityPoint Health’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and previously served as CEO of the system’s Fort Dodge region.

“UnityPoint Health’s top priority has always been — and continues to be — providing high-quality care to our patients and communities,” Thompson said in a prepared statement. “That commitment is unwavering in this extraordinary moment. I’m proud to work alongside such a dedicated team of healthcare providers and staff across the Midwest. Together we are committed to serving our patients and keeping our communities healthy.”

Read a Business Record profile on Kevin Vermeer published just prior to his becoming president and CEO in January 2016.

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