Furst Group Lands New President for the Health Plan Alliance

April 2, 2018 – As the healthcare industry continues its transformation, talent management remains a high priority. The shortage of physicians and other clinicians is one matter. But healthcare organizations must also fill new and expanding leadership roles to carry out strategic initiatives in response to reform efforts, and whatever changes Republicans in Washington, D.C. may deliver.

This has produced a high demand for top-notch leaders in the sector. Following a nationwide search, Furst Group recruited Joe W. Lastinger as the new president of the Health Plan Alliance in Irving, TX. He replaces founder Cathy K. Eddy who is retiring at the end of the month.

Mr. Lastinger most recently served as the system vice president of strategy and market development for Baylor Scott & White Health. Prior to that, he was CEO of the North Texas Accountable Healthcare Partnership (NTAHP), a regional healthcare improvement collaborative serving 145 hospitals and 7 million citizens in North Texas. During his time at NTAHP, Mr. Lastinger created a health information exchange and a regional payer claims database in partnership with large employers and health systems, along with regional and national payers. Earlier in his career, he served as chief marketing and strategy officer for T-System Inc., a clinical IT solutions company, which provides emergency and urgent care documentation and coding software to 1,900 hospitals and clinics.

“Cathy and the senior leadership team have laid out a vision for the organization with the support of the board and our shareholders that will guide the alliance for many years to come,” said Garry Maisel, board chair. The alliance and the executive committee are confident that the organization will continue to grow under Joe’s leadership.”


Furst Group Places Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at Covenant Health
Lisa Stephenson has joined Covenant Health as chief nursing informatics officer. She will be working closely with patient care services and medical staff leadership to coordinate and initiate the transformation of care processes.


The Health Plan Alliance is a national organization for provider-sponsored and independently-owned health plan collaboration.  Throughout its history, members have focused on improving their financial, operational and clinical performance and market position.

Headquartered in Chicago, Furst Group focuses exclusively on the healthcare and life sciences sector. The firm is led by co-founders CEO Bob Clarke and president Sherrie Barch. The firm has completed senior-level search assignments throughout the sector, including at El Rio Community Health Center, Primary Care Progress, University Health System and Prevea Health.

Recently, Furst Group recruited Patricia Ahern as CEO of Care Dimensions. Her 30-plus years of healthcare leadership experience spans the continuum of care delivery services, including acute care hospitals and hospice and palliative care organizations. Most recently, she was CEO of the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care in Buffalo, NY.

Healthcare Recruiting

Healthcare is among the most rapidly growing employment fields, according to analysts at Hunt Scanlon Media, which tracks trends in the executive search and leadership solutions space.

“Healthcare organizations are looking for expanded skill-sets in one of the most resource-constrained employment markets in decades,” said John Gramer, president of Cejka Executive Search. “The result is fierce competition for top healthcare talent, and growing demand for organizational design, succession planning and search services to help define and build the healthcare leadership teams of the future.”

In turn, a number of healthcare organizations have turned to executive search firms to find new leaders in recent months. Here’s a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Howard Fischer Associates placed Nassar Nizami as chief information officer of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. “At a time of immense change in healthcare, we’re delighted to welcome Nassar as a leader for Jefferson’s focus on innovation, technology, and informational science,” said Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson.…

Dallas-based executive search firm Southerland Partners placed Gerard J. Colman as CEO of Baptist Healthcare System Inc. in Louisville, KY. Keith Southerland, the search firm’s managing partner, led the assignment. Southerland Partners specializes in recruitment for complex integrated delivery systems, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals and payer organizations.

Phillips, DiPisa & Associates, an executive search firm serving the healthcare sector, has placed Matthew Cox as the senior vice president and CFO of Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI. Partner Michael Corey led the assignment. Mr. Cox will lead the finance team and assume financial responsibilities for Spectrum Health and its subsidiaries.

Following an extensive Canada-wide search, executive recruiting firm Four Corners Group placed Arden Krystal as president and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre in Ontario. Four Corners’ healthcare practice has a national Canadian scope and focuses predominantly on organizations providing healthcare.

Executive search firm Quick Leonard Kieffer recently placed Ann Marie Madden as chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services for Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, NC. Quick Leonard Kieffer specializes in placing executive-level employees across the healthcare industry.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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