The Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc. board of directors selected Jennifer DeCubellis to be the new Chief Executive Officer of the Twin Cities healthcare system. DeCubellis is currently the Hennepin County Deputy Administrator responsible for the health and human services divisions of the county.
“We had a strong pool of candidates from across the nation to choose from and Jennifer DeCubellis stood out among them. She has passion for the Hennepin Healthcare mission and a proven record of collaborating to create healthcare delivery models that improve patient outcomes, reduce disparities, and improve the health of the community,” said Diana Vance-Bryan, Hennepin Healthcare System board chair and leader of the CEO search committee. “Jennifer has the ability to listen and truly connect with people. That is a critical skill for a leader of this vital community resource.”
The search committee was most impressed by her role creating Hennepin Health. She was a leader in developing the nationally recognized partnership between the county and the healthcare system that integrates medical and behavioral care with social services for patients on Medicaid. Addressing issues of equity, disparities in care and social determinants of health, while also developing broader population health solutions, are keys to improving the wellbeing of the community while controlling costs.
“Hospitals and healthcare systems operate in a very challenging financial environment today. As an industry, we have a huge problem with cost and lack of payment for those in need,” said Brock Nelson, former CEO of Regions Hospital, who serves as vice chair of the Hennepin Healthcare board and was a member of the search committee. “Jennifer stood out among the candidates because of her track record as a community collaborator and problem solver. She asks the right questions and gets the right people involved to find solutions that are big, bold, and have improved care and lowered costs to the system.”
In addition to her decade of experience as a health and human services leader with Hennepin County, DeCubellis has worked as an Innovation Advisor at the federal level for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, where she created and tested system changes designed to improve quality and slow the escalation of costs. She also led Mental Health Authority Services in Harris County, Texas. She is looking forward to leading Minnesota’s largest public healthcare system.
“Hennepin Healthcare is a premier institution that leads with both hearts and minds,” said DeCubellis. “The opportunity to connect a solid, forward-facing strategy with the passion of the people who work there is exciting. In partnership with our patients and the community we can realize the full potential of this vital institution to reduce systematic health inequities and improve the health of the communities we serve.”
At Hennepin County, DeCubellis oversees all of health and human services, including the Public Health Department and the Federally Qualified Health Centers NorthPoint Health & Wellness and Healthcare for the Homeless. She leads a staff of 3,800 people who focus on ensuring health and wellbeing so people are able to thrive in the community.
In her role at Hennepin County she focused on disparity reduction as the executive sponsor of countywide disparity reduction efforts in education and health that seek to change policies and practice racial equity. She sponsored systemic pilots to change practice and policy in Child Protection, in Child Support, and in culturally responsive mental health. Through their Health in All Policies work, the division now looks at every decision in budgeting, program development, and evaluation through the lens of equity and inclusion.
In making the appointment, the Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc. board accepted the unanimous recommendation of a search committee that was led by the healthcare system board chair, and included a system physician, nurse leader, patient, retired hospital CEO, foundation board chair, and Hennepin County Board Chair Marion Greene.
“This is bittersweet. Jennifer accomplished so much during her tenure at the county, measurably improving the lives of Hennepin County residents with her vision and leadership. We will miss her,” said Greene. “This is, however, a big win for Hennepin Healthcare. She‘ll be a tremendous leader for this crucial community resource.”
DeCubellis, who will start February 17, currently serves on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services appointed by Governor Walz and the 2019 Legislature and is on advisory committee of the Minnesota Homeless Fund.
John Cumming, MD, MBA, who has been serving as Interim CEO since February, 2019, will remain during a brief transition period.
Hennepin Healthcare is an integrated system of care that includes HCMC, a nationally recognized Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and acute care hospital, as well as a clinic system with primary care clinics located in Minneapolis and across Hennepin County. The comprehensive healthcare system includes a 473-bed academic medical center, a large outpatient Clinic & Specialty Center, and clinics in the North Loop, Whittier, and East Lake Street neighborhoods of Minneapolis, and in the suburban communities of Brooklyn Park, Golden Valley, Richfield, and St. Anthony Village. Hennepin Healthcare has a large psychiatric program, home care and hospice, and operates a research institute, philanthropic foundation and Hennepin EMS. The system is operated by Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., a subsidiary corporation of Hennepin County.