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Posted on Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

CEO of U-M Health System moves office from medical to research campus

By Amy Biolchini

A move initiated by office space renovations turned into a full-time relocation for Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, chief executive officer of the University of Michigan Health System.

Pescovitz has moved her office and four staff members from Medical Science Research I on the main medical campus to the ex-Pfizer complex U-M has developed as the North Campus Research Complex in north Ann Arbor.


University of Michigan Health System CEO Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz speaks at an event in 2011.

Angela J. Cesere | file photo

About 75 percent of the 2,000-person workforce at the NCRC is comprised of U-M Medical School and health system employees.

Pescovitz’s office was undergoing renovations in July and so she moved to NCRC then, said Pete Barkey, director of public relations for the University of Michigan Health System.

Space constraints in the core area of the medical campus were a factor in Pescovitz’s office move, Barkey said. The move means UMHS staff more directly involved with patient care than Pescovitz can be more centrally located, Barkey said.

“It just made sense from a space-use standpoint,” Barkey said. “(Pescovitz) runs the medical school and the health system, which NCRC is a part of.”

Pescovitz’s office is now in Building 18, the same as David Canter, executive director of NCRC.

The NCRC location is isolated from the main medical campus.

It's also separate from Doug Strong, CEO of U-M Hospitals and Health Centers, who has an office in a UMHS building on North Ingalls Drive.

Pescovitz moved her office prior to a December email to her entire staff telling them the Health System needed to cut more of its costs because its revenue was coming up short in covering its expenses.

Office space at NCRC is in high demand, according to institutes that have recently moved their offices to the complex.

U-M officials acknowledged they took a risk in turning the NCRC from a vacant ex-Pfizer space to a multimillion dollar research hub, but said they're now turning their focus to making the most of the opportunity that they're presented with in the NCRC.

In a July interview with, James Woolliscroft, dean of U-M's Medical School, said NCRC's layout allows U-M faculty and administrators to "think differently."

"Space wasn't a limiting factor. When space is the limiting factor then you're very reluctant to use it for more experimental relationships and collaborations," Woolliscroft said in July. "In some ways it’s the coffee pot. [NCRC] is allowing people to bump into one another."

The NCRC space is helping them poach top talent from competing research institutions, the most recent of which includes Harvard University.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Jay Thomas

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 3:44 a.m.

'The NCRC space is helping them poach top talent from competing research institutions, the most recent of which includes Harvard University." Academics love to poach from other Universities because it inflates their own value. Sort of a virtuous circle.


Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

There's a limited pool of top talent. They pretty much have to poach from each other.


Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

Do people really need to comment? This is a non-news story, effects only the people who might work with her, still comments abound. Half of those posting probably has no connect to the UM or UMHS. Go grief people, get a life!


Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

It's awful that hospital CEOs make so much money off a corrupt system that is responsible for the vast majority of personal bankruptcy's. Not only that, but this one is literally occupying the buildings and site of a place that actually created new medicines and replacing it with a billing systems and lawyers. What an obscenity!


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

She and her annual 1 million bonus can move to the moon as far as I am concerned.

Jay Thomas

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Pescovitz's office has been moved closer to her home and results in less of a commute. Oh, the perks of power... Prove me wrong.

Jay Thomas

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 3:39 a.m.

Eep seems to know the facts, Johnny, regarding my assertion. It's not really rocket science. "Zero reason for her office to be at the Medical Center." Really? You mean apart from the fact that the head person has always been there. Sure, I guess she could just work out of a home office, come to think of it; that wouldn't prohibit her from meeting with people anymore than this move would. Right? Now would you like to "prove" that she is working more than 40/hrs week? Must come in handy to be psychic... or are you betting on a sure thing?


Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

RIDICULOUS. It is YOUR job to prove something right, not to throw out your conspiracy theories. There is ZERO reason for her office to be at the medical center. You do realize she has employees int he new building as well? Also, most CEO's spend time traveling to meet with others, or have others meet with them. I would bet if you looked at her calendar she is working far more hours than 40 per week.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

It looks like she had about a 15 minute commute before, and about a 10 minute commute after. The parking situation (more for her visitors than for herself - I'm sure she always had a reserved space, even at her old office) and more available office space for support staff were probably much more important than the commute.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

To find out why I couldn't care less about Ora Pescovitz and other's like her please read this week's Time Magazine's article: Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Its against the law for street thugs to engage in your money or your life extortion... perhaps we should make it illegal for all including the medical profession. With street thugs, there is greater immediacy and transparency to the situation. In the medical realm, it hides behind things like insurance and arcane terminology. Thus, the 20 or 30 dollar xray with 400 percent markup-hiding behind an inflated and deceptive descriptor.We do too quickly get to who pays? We need to spend more time on-why is what is being paid so much?


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

I suppose that "Space constraints" means all the traffic and parking problems associated with the main medical campus. Such an easy solution if you're at the top and a glaring disregard for the problems that needs fixing. It's too bad that patients and staff have such an option.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 4:29 p.m.

Isolated? Separated? It's 3miles, and it's the 21st century; where there is no such thing as "personal" communication. Part of this article makes it sound like she moved to an international location with no communication resources except carrier pigeons.

Michigan Man

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Out of sight = Out of mind! CEO moving away from the daily action in a prestigious academic medical center - Doctors, Nurses, OR's ER's Academics, etc. sounds goofy to me. Smart money is that this is the 1st step in her being removed from the CEO role. Given the debacle of errors just from last year alone, no surprise here.


Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 12:41 a.m.

hospital running deficit for first time in a long while (if any)....may not be so far-fetched.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

Pretty confident that's not it.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Given that she spends her days meeting with a lot of people, including people who don't work at the Hospital, having decent parking would be a huge plus.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Being exiled to Siberia has its moments. Little contact with the UMH germ factory people. Plenty of spacious parking and deer. Quick freeway access ahead of the commuter rush. Shopping and dining within EZ crosswalk distance. Private solar reflectors to help tone up that tan. Free meteorites.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

The director evidently needs more "me time" and separation from all of that annoying hustle-bustle and inconvenience at UMHS.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 11:12 a.m.

Nice spacious office and easier parking! What more can one ask?