Parrinello to lead Strong Memorial, Highland hospitals

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Kathy Parrinello has been named as the first woman to lead Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals as part of a reorganization at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

A teaching hospital attached to UR’s School of Medicine and Dentistry and the area’s largest hospital, Strong Memorial has more than 800 beds and operates the area’s only trauma center. Highland is a 263-bed community hospital. Both are located in city of Rochester.

A onetime Strong Memorial staff nurse, Parrinello has served as chief operating officer of Strong and Highland since 2000. She previously held UR Medicine posts including director of surgical nursing services, director of ambulatory care, and senior director of hospital operations.

Kathy Parrinello (Photo: UR)

She is slated to take over as president and chief executive of Strong on July 1 and assume the same titles at Highland before the end of the year, URMC CEO David Linehan M.D.

Parrinello take the reins from the two hospitals’ longtime president and CEO, Steve Goldstein. She also is heading a search committee to find her own replacement as COO.

Goldstein, a 28-year veteran of the UR health system, served under five URMC CEOs and has played a key role in the system’s growth. He has headed Strong since 1996, when he joined URMC. Before that, he served as president of Rochester General Hospital.

Now the Rochester area’s largest health care organization, the UR system grew from a two-hospital organization when Goldstein joined it to an eight-hospital regional presence that today spans six Rochester-area, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier counties.

Goldstein will continue serve as a URMC vice president, overseeing the strategic integration of the sprawling UR Medicine system, Linehan explains in a memo. Goldstein also will continue to direct UR Medicine’s long-term care facilities in Monroe County and its home-care organization, Linehan’s memo adds.

In the memo, Goldstein calls Parrinello “absolutely the perfect leader for both Strong and Highland hospitals.” Parrinello “understands and supports the unique culture that drives the (Strong’s and Highland’s) high quality care and patient experience I can think of no one better to step into this role.” 

Linehan describes the organizational changes as a needed response to pressures the expanding UR Medicine system faces.

“The amount of change our organization has absorbed in the last decade is astounding. Since I joined URMC in 2014, our health system has tripled in size,” he notes in the memo.

A surgical oncologist, Linehan has served as URMC CEO and dean of the UR medical school since Feb. 1. He joined URMC as chair of the system’s Department of Surgery in 2014, after serving for a decade as chief of surgery at Washington University in St. Louis.

Since he joined the Rochester system, UR Medicine’s patient revenue has increased by 250 percent, while the system’s outpatient visits have grown to some 4.3 million annually, Linehan observes.

Like virtually every U.S. medical organization, URMC saw its resources stretched to the limit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and like most of the country’s health care organizations, it continues to feel the pandemic’s after effects.

Facing continuing staffing and revenue challenges, the UR system is financially “struggling to break even at the moment,” says Chip Partner, URMC spokesperson.

While the system hopes for an annual 2 percent operating margin, he adds, since the pandemic’s onset, it has seen operating losses in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 fiscal years. URMC’s fiscal years run from June 30 to July 1 of the following year.

The UR system’s “clinical-services revenues improved significantly this year, but it’s not clear yet whether that will be enough to break even or show a small positive operating margin,” Partner adds.

“This new (organizational) structure better aligns with today’s clinical enterprise footprint, and provides our leaders with the resources to more nimbly and strategically manage major portions of our business,” Linehan states in the memo.

Will Astor is Rochester Beacon senior writer. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

Correction: This article previously misidentified the dean of the University of Rochester School of Nursing. Lisa Kitko is dean of the school and vice president of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

2 thoughts on “Parrinello to lead Strong Memorial, Highland hospitals

  1. Kathy Parrinello is another excellent leadership choice made recently by our Rochester healthcare systems. Healthcare is now our primary industry, and her lifelong dedication to high quality healthcare is pointing us in the right direction. The opportunity for Rochester is to now link our skilled executives to high value metrics, defined as healthy patients created per dollar spent. We now have region wide health outcomes data that will allow this better yardstick to be applied affordably. High value institutions attract high quality staff, wise and satisfied customers / conumers and so grow their reputations, capabilities, and profitability.
    For the value equation to drive daily healthcare decision making, reimbursement must become value based, rewarding most generously the patient care teams that create more health at appropriate cost. Following the money will lead to more health and less expense, not to more procedures and encounter paid with no measure of health outcomes, only rules adherence (process quality measures). These top-down quality and reimbursement algorithm are proven colossal failures. Good customer behavior by our two health system to use patient outcome data to measure, improve, and reimburse healthcare providers will allow Rochester to become the high value and high quality model for the nation.
    Welcome Kathy!

  2. Congratulations. I hope that when she’s had a chance to settle in, she develops a vision statement for where she wants to guide the hospital during her tenure and shares it with the community and patients. Post-COVID, we are experiencing lasting community disruptions that need to be addressed, especially overloaded EDs full of patients who can’t find nursing home beds. URMC also needs a strong and effective lobbying presence in Albany and Washington to establish more control over Big Pharms and Insurance companies. I wish her well and sincerely hope she does more to reach out and listen to patients and the community.

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