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Posted on Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Dr. Ora Pescovitz will lead U-M hospitals through a challenging 2013

By Amy Biolchini

All signs point to a challenging year ahead for the University of Michigan Health System as its CEO, Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, prepares for her fourth year on the job.

Pescovitz will lead approximately 26,000 faculty and staff through myriad uncertainties with federal funding sources, a recently downgraded Moody’s Investors Services bond rating and a growing budget gap.

The first female leader of UMHS, Pescovitz was hired in May 2009 and has the second-highest base salary of executives at the University of Michigan at $753,806 per year.


Dr. Ora Pescovitz

Angela J. Cesere |

U-M’s Health System has an annual budget of about $3 billion and accounts for one-third of the University of Michigan when it comes to staffing level, geographic footprint and budget. UMHS sees about 45,000 inpatient visits per year, and has more than 120 clinic locations in Michigan and northern Ohio that see about 1.8 million visits per year.

Upholding a strong image for the University of Michigan Health System will likely be a priority for Pescovitz, as the organization wards off less-than-positive reflections of its brand including Stephen Jenson, a medical resident at U-M Hospital accused of having child pornography on a thumb drive he left in a laptop at the hospital; neurology professor Dr. Sidney Gilman’s implications in a lucrative insider trading scheme and a data security breach through the theft of a laptop containing patient information from one of its vendors.

Construction of the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital on the Health System’s main Ann Arbor campus set their finances back into the red for 2012, and communications from Pescovitz indicate UMHS is not making a financial recovery as quickly as anticipated.

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However, administrators for the new hospitals have reported better-than-expected patient activity for 2012.

Pescovitz has taken an active role in communicating with her staff regarding the financial challenges facing the health system, and in early December again asked her employees to look for additional ways to cut expenses.

Though the Health System’s bottom line may be in the red, expanding its geographic reach throughout Michigan in 2012 has been a top priority as UMHS has made a number of key announcements.


A new U-M Survival Flight helicopter flies on a test run in August to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Jeffrey Smith |

A set of new Survival Flight helicopters launched in August, allowing patients in need of critical care to be transported to the Ann Arbor hospitals from points further away than was previously possible.

At the end of August, officials announced an affiliation agreement with MidMichigan Health -- a partnership in which UMHS has a partial financial stake in another health system for the first time.

This December, partnership announcements continued with an agreement between C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Sparrow Children’s Center in mid-Michigan for pediatric specialty care. Sparrow is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and is affiliated with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges.

U-M's Survival Flight will take over as Sparrow’s air medical transport service Jan. 1.

The U-M Health System’s reputation for treating the sickest of sick patients is in part due to its network of physicians who refer patients to UMHS for specialty treatment.

Maintaining and expanding those relationships is part of UMHS’ plan for future success, according to hospital officials. Cementing partnerships with other health systems ensures those patients will continue to be referred to UMHS.

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


James Staley

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 4:20 a.m.

Dr. Ora Pescovitz, good luck with your new year job of trying to do something with the Computer Department at the University of Michigan Medical Center, it is all because of the top Administration of that department. I was working in that department and just before my 50th birthday, I was fired soon after, I told that I had co-workers sleeping on the midnight shift during work time and a few patients almost died. I was told I made the department look bad and one of the sleeping workers was promoted a Miss Stacie Johnson by her supervisor Marilyn Lanzon and their supervisor Joselyn Dewitt also authorized the promotion and they all new about Stacie Johnson sleeping during work time and she was still promoted to supervisor and later Manager. Until the top administration is fired, all of the problems will not stop, they all watch out for each other and lie and get away with it. When I was fired, I was called at my home by Marilyn Lanzon and she told me she did not care about what Miss Johnson did, but I would never work at the University of Michigan again and she would see to it, so until you get the real problem workers fired, and not the people that do care about the patient care, you are going to have computer security problems for a long time and also, YOU need to move the computer department back to the Hospital and also the Medical Records department, driving the records across town when they are needed that is alot of time and money spent that could be saved. Think about it if the Medical information and the computer were at the Hospital building and not across town, none of the computer information problems would of happen.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 10:20 p.m.

After a newsworthy 2012, this year should be easy. What else could go wrong?


Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 1:18 a.m.

@Basic Bob: Bigger budget issues that can't seem to control, can't wait to see the whole Dr. Sidney Gilman scandal play out. He cut a sweet heart deal with the feds to avoid prison. Once he's done giving up all he knows about the hedge fund group he gave information to I wonder how many names of other U of M employees will come out? Do you really think he was the only one?


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

Don't bother posting anything negative about the dear sweet leader of the health care system. I see the censorship is in full swing at for 2013. Even if you post something that is public knowledge it's going to be deleted if it doesn't paint U of M in a positive light. It's always seemed a bit strange to me that newspapers are the first ones to claim "freedom of the Press" but are the first ones to delete any post that doesn't fit with their article. Right, I know, I should email the editorial board. lol Maybe our 2013 New Year's Resolutions should be to stop reading this site and posting until our right to a free press are upheld?

Top Cat

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Let's see...4 years on the job....downgraded bond rating....growing budget gap.....does the word incompetent come to mind?


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

I will run UMHS at a deficit for only$600,000 a year. See they can start saving already

Michigan Man

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

2012 not a good year for U of M hospitals, which is too bad = Pediatric resident porn, Neurology faculty scandal in the hundreds of millions, downgrading of bonds, budget problems (which quite clearly have a relationship to Obamacare), violence of the hospital campus, employee theft, etc. Really hope things shape up in a big way over at U of M hospitals. Was also thinking about St. Joe the world class community hospital in Ann Arbor. St. Joe seems to have had pretty good stability, performance and polish in 2012. Yes, leadership does make a difference.