A health system has appointed a veteran executive to lead its hospital group in the region.
Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids said this month that is has selected Christina Freese-Decker as the new president of the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, effective July 21.
Prior to the appointment, Freese-Decker most recently served as the senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Spectrum Health.
Freese-Decker will oversee operations and the growth strategy for 11 hospitals, ambulatory care sites and post-acute services, comprising the Spectrum Health network.
Freese-Decker said serving as president of the hospital group is an exciting prospect.
“I have always wanted to be in health care administration and to lead this phenomenal organization has been one of my goals,” Freese-Decker said. “I was very excited to have this opportunity.”
The overarching goal for the future as president of the hospital group is to assist in achieving the mission and vision of Spectrum Health, which is to improve the health of the communities it serves and be a national leader for health, according to Freese-Decker.
“That is the main purpose of what I am doing; it’s really to impact patient care here in our communities,” Freese-Decker said. “Yesterday was my first day, so I am listening, understanding and observing what we need to do and starting to create some of those priorities.”
Joining the Spectrum Health system in 2002, Freese-Decker served as president at Spectrum Health United and Kelsey hospitals and in additional roles within the health system over the years.
With an academic training in finance, health care administration and industrial engineering and serving in leadership positions at Spectrum Health for years, Freese-Decker said her background has helped prepare her for leading the system’s hospital group.
“I understand the health care industry, and I also understand the operations logistics,” said Freese-Decker in reference to her graduate work. “I have been in several system roles, so I understand the connections of health care between hospitals, physicians and health plans. I understand where the health care industry is going and what we need to do to better serve our patients.”
Freese-Decker is the Michigan and Northwest Ohio regent for the American College of Healthcare Executives, with her term ending in 2017.
The college is an international society of more than 40,000 health care executives within hospitals, organizations and health systems. As a regent of one of the six districts throughout the country, Freese-Decker works with chapters, higher education networks and the local health care community to develop programs and services to those in the area.
Freese-Decker earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in health administration and industrial engineering from the University of Iowa.
Throughout her career, Freese-Decker has earned numerous awards: The Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award for Young Healthcare Executive of the Year; Becker’s Hospital Review’s Rising Stars: 25 Healthcare Leaders Under Age 40; Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty; and Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan.