Ochsner Health Network: Our Powerful Partnerships

Our partnerships start with people driven by a desire to offer the communities they serve the best healthcare possible. The Ochsner Health Network Board includes our founding partner health systems’ CEOs and Ochsner Health System President and CEO Warner Thomas.

Meet a few of our partners, and see why your organization should join our supportive network:

Warner Thomas, President and CEO, Ochsner Health System

Why We Partner with OHN:

"We strive to bring high-quality cost-effective care to as many people as possible. That’s why we created the Ochsner Health Network; to partner with other leading health systems…to help bring solutions to complex medical challenges while keeping care close to home.”

Bio: Warner Thomas officially assumed the role of Ochsner Health System President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on September 1, 2012. As the CEO of Ochsner, Louisiana’s largest non-profit health system, Mr. Thomas is responsible for the system’s overall strategic growth and development.

Mr. Thomas joined Ochsner in 1998 and served for 14 years as Ochsner’s President and Chief Operating Officer (COO). As COO, Mr. Thomas was instrumental in Ochsner’s growth in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated much of the medical infrastructure in south Louisiana. In the years since the storm, Ochsner has acquired six hospitals and developed strategic partnerships and affiliations with 22 others – growing its presence across Louisiana and throughout the Gulf South region. Mr. Thomas has been instrumental in creating the largest healthcare system in the Gulf South.

Since joining Ochsner, Mr. Thomas has focused on implementing industry best practices and developing innovative partnerships with major companies such as General Electric, which has resulted in developing the operating capability required to successfully run a health system of Ochsner’s size. Mr. Thomas was the driving force behind the creation of Innovation Ochsner, an innovation accelerator designed to create health innovations as well as support and partner with companies working to revolutionize patient-centered care. He also spearheaded the creation of the Ochsner Learning Institute, which provides free professional education for all Ochsner leaders to better prepare them to confront challenges, seek opportunity and ignite enthusiasm around best practices in healthcare.

Mr. Thomas’ expertise and ability are nationally recognized. In 2014, Mr. Thomas was appointed to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which advises Congress on issues affecting Medicare. He has served as Chairman of the American Hospital Association Section for Health Systems Governing Council, and is a past member of the Board of the American Medical Group Association and Association of American Medical Colleges Advisory Panel for Health Care and Council of Teaching Hospitals.

Mr. Thomas received his Masters Degree in Business Administration in 1994 from Boston University Graduate School of Management, and an undergraduate degree in Accounting and Computer Information Systems from New Hampshire College in Manchester, NH. He was a Certified Public Accountant, served on the board of the American Medical Group Association, is a Fellow in The American College of Healthcare Executives, a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and New Orleans Business Council; and a Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA) board member.

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Patti Ellish, President and CEO, St. Tammany Parish Hospital

Why We Partner with OHN:

“Our partnership is a proactive step to improve quality and decrease costs while offering access to higher acuity healthcare close to home,” says Ellish. “It is strategic partnerships like this one that will help healthcare organizations thrive in our changing industry.”

Bio: A native of the New Orleans area and a graduate of its Charity Hospital School of Nursing, Patti Ellish began her career in health care at West Jefferson Medical Center in 1974. While working at this 450-bed tertiary care hospital, she pursued and completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the College of St. Francis and a Master of Health Administration degree from Tulane University in New Orleans. She is a Fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Ellish joined St. Tammany Parish Hospital (STPH) in October, 2000 as its President and CEO. During her tenure at this 232-bed facility located in one of the fastest growing parishes (county) in the state of Louisiana, she has propelled the institution’s financial performance and clinical quality agenda. These accomplishments, just to name a few, resulted in the hospital’s achievement at the top 10th percentile across the nation with Press-Ganey patient satisfaction ratings as well as achieving a bond upgrade “A” rating from Standard and Poor’s directly related to consistent strong financial performance year over year. STPH’s current facility strategic plan includes $100 million in capital projects over the next 2 ½ years.

Always the community activist, Ellish has served as the Chairman of the Metropolitan Hospital Council, Northshore Chair of the Women’s Leadership Initiative of the United Way and Chair for the Northshore Healthcare Alliance. Patti has received numerous honors and recognitions for her accomplishments including being named the 2012 New Orleans’s City Business Woman of the year, including its Hall of Fame; 2005 YLC Role Model of the Year and New Orleans Magazine Top 10 Female Achievers.

Ellish and her husband, Gary, reside in St. Tammany Parish and have two children and one grandchild.

David Callecod, President, Lafayette General Health

Why We Partner with OHN:

“This is a unique opportunity for Acadiana,” says Callecod. “The LGH network has grown tremendously and is very strong, but through this partnership, we are now stronger. It is a proactive step to improve quality and decrease costs, while offering access to higher acuity healthcare closer to home.”

Bio: David L. Callecod is President of Lafayette General Health (LGH), a position he has held since its inception in May 2013. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).

As president of LGH, he presides over the largest healthcare system in Acadiana, encompassing a 10-parish area of Louisiana. Callecod first came to Lafayette General in July 2008, when he was named CEO of Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC). In October 2011, Callecod was inducted into Studer Group’s Fire Starter Hall of Fame at the “What’s Right in Health Care” conference.

Prior to joining Lafayette General, Callecod served as the president and CEO at Marion General Hospital in Marion, Indiana from 2003-08. Callecod received the 2005 Regent’s Award as an outstanding healthcare executive from the American College of Healthcare Executives. Callecod began his career in 1989 at AMI Culver Union Hospital in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He then served as CEO at Tenet Healthcare hospitals in Indianapolis, Indiana and Searcy, Arkansas from 1999-2003.

In 2001, Callecod was recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal as a “40 under Forty” award winner. That same year, he was bestowed an Outstanding Achievement Award in Business from Indiana Wesleyan University. Callecod received a Bachelor of Arts from Wabash College in 1989 and a Masters of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1994. He was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by IWU in 2007.

Continuing a strong community presence, Callecod is active on many local boards, including the Louisiana Hospital Association, Blueprint Louisiana, One Acadiana CEO Council and AHA Regional Policy.

Phyllis Peoples, CEO, Terrebonne General Medical Center

Why We Partner with OHN:

“As a founding partner in the Ochsner Health Network, Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC) has the unique opportunity to align with other very strong organizations to create value for patients while maintaining independence for our hospital and our physicians. TGMC's affiliation with the OHN will greatly aid in significant reductions in costs and secure additional resources locally through the network’s joint purchasing ability.”

Bio: Phyllis LeBlanc Peoples has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Terrebonne General Medical Center since 2003. A native of Houma, Louisiana, Phyllis has worked in healthcare administration for over 24 years. She is currently a member of the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board 7 and of the Louisiana Hospital Association Board of Trustees. She serves as the Chairman of the LHA Quality Committee, and is a member of the LHA Research and Education Foundation Board. She has been a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives since 2001, most recently completing a two year term as President of the Louisiana Chapter of Healthcare Executives.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and two master’s degrees from Valdosta State University in administration and education, as well as a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Tulane University.

She is a member and has served on the Boards of numerous other local, state and national organizations. She was recognized as a community Role Model for 2011 by the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans and was awarded the Golden Pelican President’s Award from the Louisiana Society for Hospital Public Relations and Marketing. She was also honored as one of the New Orleans City Businesses’ Health Care Heroes for 2012 and, as one of the CityBusiness 2013 Women of the Year.

Bill Davis, CEO, Slidell Memorial Hospital

Why We Partner with OHN:

“By maintaining the local identity and governance of SMH – while at the same time improving access to care, efficiency and care quality – this partnership brings the best of all worlds to the community we serve,” says Davis. “This is a proactive and responsible move to ensure that SMH remains the strong and vital organization it is today.”

Bio: In January 2001, Davis joined Slidell Memorial Hospital as its CFO. In March 2012, he became CEO after serving as the hospital's Acting CEO for seven months. With more than 25 years of experience in healthcare, Davis has worked for both for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare providers and in the health insurance industry as an HMO executive for three years. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of New Orleans, and he’s a graduate of the Leadership Louisiana program. Davis is a member of the New Orleans Metropolitan Hospital Council, Louisiana Hospital Association, Louisiana Hospital Association Medical Malpractice Trust Fund (vice chairman), St. Tammany Parish Development District (chairman) and the First Planning District Workforce Investment Board. In 2014, Davis was named the American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion for the State of Louisiana, a Top 10 National Finalist in the Community Leadership Award by Modern Healthcare Magazine and East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Board Member of the Year.

Stephen Wright, Senior Vice President, Group Operations, Christus Health Louisiana/Southeast Texas

Why We Partner with OHN:

“We are excited to partner with Ochsner, a mission-driven organization that shares our commitment to expand high-quality care and decrease costs, while offering access to new models of healthcare delivery closer to home,” says Wright.

Bio: Over the course of a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Stephen Wright has held a variety of leadership roles with the Sisters of Charity Health Care System (SCH) and CHRISTUS Health. At SCH, Stephen served as director of managed care for the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston, Texas, from 1985-1987 and then as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for St. Michael Health Care Center in Texarkana, Texas, from 1987-1999.

Following the formation of CHRISTUS Health, Stephen began his tenure as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana in January of 1999. Shortly thereafter, he was asked to assume additional responsibilities as President and CEO for CHRISTUS Health Central Louisiana, which includes CHRISTUS Coushatta Health Care Center, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, Savoy Medical Center in Mamou and CHRISTUS St. Joseph’s Home in Monroe.

In February of 2009 Stephen assumed leadership of CHRISTUS Health Northern Louisiana, which includes CHRISTUS Highland Medical Center in Shreveport/Bossier, resulting in enhanced coordination of services among the various entities in Central and Northern Louisiana and both regions’ continued growth. In March of 2010 Stephen began serving as President and CEO of CHRISTUS Health Louisiana when his responsibilities were expanded to include oversight over CHRISTUS Health Southwest Louisiana, which includes CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital in Lake Charles.

In February of 2015 Stephen was asked to lead the newly integrated CHRISTUS Health Louisiana/Southeast Texas group as Senior Vice President Group Operations. In addition to the Louisiana hospitals, the Texas-based hospitals now under Stephen’s leadership include CHRISTUS Hospital – St. Elizabeth in Beaumont, CHRISTUS Hospital – St. Mary in Port Arthur, CHRISTUS Jasper Memorial Hospital and the newly purchased Bone and Join Institute in Beaumont/Port Arthur.

Currently, Stephen’s oversight includes more than 6500 associates and over 1200 beds throughout the Louisiana and Southeast Texas facilities.

Stephen has provided solid leadership for start-up initiatives, strategic development, program services and physician relations. He is strongly committed to performance improvement and consistently exemplifies the CHRISTUS core values in his interactions with associates, physicians, board members, volunteers and the community.

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