John W. Bluford lll, President and CEO of Truman Medical Centers (TMC), today announced his retirement, effective July 18, to the health system’s Board of Directors, leadership and medical staff. Bluford, who turns 65 on May 1, began his tenure at TMC in 1999, providing fifteen years of progressive leadership and change management to the organization.
“During his tenure as CEO, John’s unwavering vision and extraordinary commitment for TMC to provide high-quality health care, better for everyone, has led us to new heights never before imagined. In addition, we are grateful that he has conscientiously assembled an outstanding leadership team that will continue his legacy and ensure our future success,” said Peggy Dunn, TMC Board of Directors Chairman.
Bluford is working with a committee of TMC Board members, including Dunn, and University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine appointees to complete the details of his departure in July, and ensure a smooth leadership transition.
“Unfortunately, we knew this day would eventually arrive. That is why John and the board leadership have been working diligently on a succession plan for the past several years,” Dunn said. “With the help of a local search firm, the search committee will immediately begin the process to identify his successor.”
Dunn said the committee would look internally at possible candidates before broadening the search, if necessary. She said the transition team intends to identify a successor prior to Bluford’s departure.
“In coming months, our focus will be to find an innovative executive who can carry on the great mission and vision of TMC and navigate the ever-changing, complex healthcare environment,” Dunn said.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the patients of TMC and the Kansas City and Jackson County community,” Bluford said. “TMC has a strong leadership team and a dedicated staff to carry on our mission and vision. I am proud of what we have accomplished in my time at TMC, and I know the future remains bright for TMC.”
Bluford said he intends to remain in the Kansas City area where he will remain civically engaged, participate in local and national boards and continue to speak around the country. He will also concentrate on mentoring the next generation of healthcare leaders through the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute, which he established in 2013, and he looks forward to supporting the grocery store initiative at 27th and Troost.
Bluford’s successor will inherit an academic, two acute-care hospital health system that has won national recognition for its patient-centered care, while maintaining its financial soundness despite its safety-net mission of caring for a disproportionate share of the uncompensated care burden of the community. Since 1999, Bluford's financial accomplishments at TMC include increasing total annual net operating revenue by $283 million and capital and technology investments of more than $400 million. Capital investments have included a new cardiology suite, major radiology enhancements, a new emergency department, a new diabetes center and renovated operating suites at TMC Hospital Hill. TMC Lakewood opened a new outpatient surgery center, added new inpatient medical/surgical beds, a new emergency department in 2006 and in 2012, opened a new state-of- the art birthing center.
His tenure at TMC is part of a distinguished career in hospital and health system administration that has spanned more than four decades. Bluford is a nationally-known healthcare innovator who has been recognized by Modern Healthcare and Becker's Hospital Review as one of the Most Influential People in Healthcare. John served as Chair of the American Hospital Association in 2011 and has also served as Chair of the National Association of Public Hospitals, Chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Missouri Hospital Association.
Among the accomplishments Bluford is most proud of in his career include helping to change the culture of the organization to become more competitive, customer service oriented and more innovative. Other major accomplishments include TMC’s recognition by the University Health System Consortium as one of the Top Five Academic Medical Centers in the country and achieving HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 in 2012, representing the top 2 percent of hospitals for information technology implementation. Additionally, Bluford is proud to have developed the TMC Corporate Academy, the Center for the Healing Arts Gallery, and launching a mobile market to bring healthy foods to those living in underserved communities.
With a focus on creating a culture of health and wellness and initiating a call to action with hospitals across the country, Bluford has received many awards throughout his career including Modern Healthcare’s CEO IT Achievement award and recognition as one of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare. Additionally, he has received the Missouri Hospital Association Visionary Leadership Award, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management – Laura G. Jackson Award for exceptional leadership in healthcare and the Gail L Warden Leadership Award from the National Healthcare Leadership Institute.