U-M Health System President David A. Spahlinger, M.D., stepping down at end of 2020

January 24, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

U-M Health System President David A. Spahlinger, M.D., will be stepping down from his current role at the end of December 2020.

As the executive vice dean for clinical affairs for the last four years, Spahlinger has been instrumental in guiding and restructuring the health system and its distinct business units: adult hospital, women and children’s, the medical group and ambulatory care. 

It was Spahlinger’s clinical vision in 2014 that has guided the organization’s strategy to manage 400,000 lives locally and 3.5 million statewide. Under his leadership, the health system was restructured to reflect a triad leadership model in each business unit in order to improve patient care, safety and operational efficiencies. Within this model, Spahlinger and his leadership team also worked to increase local problem-solving on the units by strengthening physician and nursing partnerships and total care team collaborations. 

Spahlinger has been relentlessly focused on improving and standardizing quality and safety, improving access and the patient experience. He directed the efforts that resulted in a reduction of health-care acquired conditions, an increase in patient experience rankings and a lowering of the organization’s readmission rate.  He has also led the health care performance improvement initiative to improve Michigan Medicine’s safety culture and to create a highly reliable organization. 

These efforts and others resulted in the hospitals being ranked among the best in the nation and No.1 in the state by U.S. News and World Report. The health system has consistently been recognized for the quality of care and improvements, moving from a CMS hospital three-star rating in 2016 to four-stars in 2017-2018 and five-stars in 2019. 

Other accolades include the continuation of Leapfrog straight “A” safety ratings since 2012 and being named a Leapfrog top teaching hospital. The organization was also acknowledged as one of America’s Top 250 Hospitals by Healthgrades in 2019 and America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Specialty Care in 2020. Forbes also identified UMHS as the best employer in the state of Michigan in 2019. 

From 2004-2015, he served the U-M Medical School as senior associate dean for clinical affairs, and from 1997-2015, he was the executive director of the faculty group practice, what is now the U-M Medical Group. 

Please thank Spahlinger for not only his service as UMHS president, but for all of his years of commitment to patients in various leadership capacities. His vision for the health system and new adult hospital has been a true reflection of his commitment to better serve patients and families, to support our faculty and staff, and to enhance communities.

A national search will be conducted to select Spahlinger’s replacement.