Goldfarb stepping aside as CEO of Shands
Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 11:08 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 11:08 a.m.
Timothy Goldfarb is stepping down in July as the CEO of UF Health Shands Hospital, and his interim successor will be Shands Chief Operations Officer Edward Jimenez.
Goldfarb, 64, whose retirement was announced by UF on Tuesday afternoon, will assume a new position overseeing the hospital's regional and governmental affairs.
David Guzick, UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health, said the transition for Goldfarb has been in the works for the past four years, and that when they hired Jimenez, they were looking for a COO who might also succeed Goldfarb as CEO.
"Part of the plan was to recruit a COO who had the skills, talent, and personality to potentially step into the CEO role," Guzick said.
Jimenez, 42, was formerly system vice president for Saint Joseph's Health Care System in New Jersey. He will be interim CEO for one year, starting July 1.
"If things work out, he would be appointed as permanent CEO," Guzick said. "That's something that the board would decide with input from faculty and staff."
Goldfarb has been mentoring Jimenez in CEO responsibilities since Jimenez started 3½ years ago. So in addition to running the hospital on an operational basis, Jimenez has been learning skills such as how to handle relations with the medical staff, manage the hospital's relationship to the university, and market the hospital's services.
Longtime ties to hospitals
Goldfarb has at least one thing in common with his interim successor, Jimenez: Both grew up around hospitals and were inspired to work at them from a young age.
Goldfarb's father suffered from polio. "I don't remember him not being in a hospital," Goldfarb said.
Jimenez's mother was a nurse, and his first job was an ER orderly.
"I really got to see health care from a very basic level," Jimenez said. In college, he thought about becoming a physician, but instead decided to go into health administration.
Nowadays when Jimenez is at the hospital, he says he is in his comfort zone.
"I get to talk to some of the brightest doctors, and then two minutes later, the nurse who is caring for someone, and then two minutes later, shoot the breeze with the security guard, and I can have a really wonderful conversation with every one of them," he said.
For Goldfarb, the hospital is like a second home. "My wife would say that I am as comfortable if not more in a hospital than at a house," he said. "I enjoy immensely the experience of being in a hospital and being around patients and families."
Goldfarb said that he also enjoys — and finds instructive — his contact with Shands employees of all types, numbering approximately 8,000.
"Employees see sincerity very, very clearly … if you try to act like something you're not, they see through it in a minute," he said, adding that as the person at the helm of such a large institution, "know your strengths and weaknesses, and you've gotta remember that it's not about you."
"It's not true that an individual drives any one thing … we all build on each other's skill sets," Goldfarb continued. "When it works well, and people get along, and you put out a good product, it truly is the result of people doing things they are good at."
"The joy of being a manager is being a group like that," he added.
That's the type of group that Goldfarb has been part of at Shands, he said. During his 13-year tenure, he has overseen significant changes, although the planning for these pre-date his arrival, he said.
These milestones include the opening of the Cancer Hospital in 2009, and transitioning employees of Shands AGH, the longtime community hospital in Midtown that closed the same year and has since been demolished, to new jobs with Shands.
Goldfarb has also overseen a process that has brought Shands and the academic health center closer together, which culminated in the name change from UF&Shands to UF Health last May.
"By thriving as a hospital, this provides support for the academic missions of UF," Guzick said. "(This is) the virtuous circle in academic medicine … where if the hospital is successful, then (so is) the academic institution."
Guzick credits Goldfarb's longstanding experience with his successful tenure.
"Tim in particular has substantial accumulated experience," Guzick said. "He came to Gainesville not as a rookie, but as a seasoned hospital CEO."
Goldfarb was previously the director of the university hospital at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Ore., where he oversaw the privatization of that hospital.
"That experience was the only time I thought lightning would strike for me. Lightning does strike twice, and it's been fun," he said, referring to his time at Shands.
As CEO of Shands, Goldfarb became increasingly involved in regional partnerships and legislative affairs. He will continue to work on those in a newly created position, as UF Health executive vice president for regional and governmental affairs.
"He is our point person to interface with legislators in Tallahassee and also activities in D.C.," Guzick said.
Jimenez said his vision "is to continue the progress we've been making becoming an outstanding quality organization. I think Tim and Dr. Guzick have created a vision already. I get a chance to help fulfill the elements of that vision."
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