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Name: Warner Thomas

Previous title: Chief executive officer and president, Ochsner Health

New title: Chief executive officer and president, Sutter Health

Effective Dec. 1, Thomas will take the helm of Sacramento, California-based Sutter Health, becoming the system’s first external CEO in more than 40 years, according to a press release.

Thomas joins Sutter from Louisiana-based Ochsner Health, where he led the system’s 40 hospitals and more than 300 urgent care and health centers for a decade.

He was Ochsner’s first non-physician CEO and was responsible for launching the system’s think tank and health incubator, InnovationOchsner, which focuses on analytics and digital health.

Thomas’ appointment comes as non-profits across the country report poor financial performance as labor costs rise and patient volumes remain depressed. Sutter Health posted a $457 million net loss in its second quarter this year compared to a $636 million net gain a year ago. Last month, Fitch Ratings downgraded its non-profit financial outlook to “deteriorating.”

Prior to his role at Ochsner, Thomas was president of Foundation Medical Partners.

He will succeed James Conforti, Sutter Health’s chief operating officer, who has served as the system’s interim CEO since January.

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