Envision Healthcare, the physician-led services and post-acute care company based in Nashville, announced its president and CEO Christopher “Chris” Holden will step down from his role. Holden has been with the company for 13 years.
He will be replaced by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Karey Witty, EVP and Chief Financial Officer Teresa Sparks, and Chief Administrative Officer Dave Esler. The three will serve as interim Office of the CEO while the company’s board conducts a search for a permanent replacement.
Holden’s departure comes at a time when Envision has been under fire for its billing practices over the last several years. The company, which is owned by private equity firm KKR, has received heavy criticism for doling out surprise medical bills to some patients around the country. Envision is one of the nation’s largest physician groups and also owns its own emergency department staffing company, EmCare. The company billed some patients for out-of-network services in the past, leaving them with sky-high bills in the tens of thousands of dollars. One Yale study from 2017, which has been heavily disputed by Envision, found EmCare’s out-of-network billing rate was 62%. The company has also been subject to at least one class action lawsuit for its practices.
Its practices even temporarily put Envision on the outs with other healthcare providers, including UnitedHealth Group, which signaled to Envision it was considering ending contracts with the company and warned 250 hospitals it thought of dropping Envision in its network beginning in 2019. While UnitedHealth and Envision eventually came to contract agreements, Envision since launched campaigns to end surprise billing and give patients more information about their financial responsibilities for healthcare services.
Envision Healthcare did not respond to a media inquiry from Health Exec as of press time.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we appreciate Chris’ dedication to Envision’s clinicians and employees and thank him for his many contributions to the company. Envision is a special organization with exceptional people playing a vital role in the U.S. healthcare system today,” Max Lin, KKR Partner and a member of Envision’s Board of Directors, said in a statement. “Karey, Teresa and Dave are closely aligned around the company’s mission, vision and values, which gives us great confidence in the shared leadership approach as we identify the next leader for this great business.”