UHF's Health Care Leadership Award recognizes extraordinary personal leadership to improve health and health care. In 2019, UHF was pleased to present the award to Steven R. Swartz for his leadership and Hearst’s work to help raise the standard of excellence in health care through information and technology.

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Under the leadership of Steven Swartz, Hearst’s president and CEO, the storied print, broadcasting, and digital company is thriving—not just by evolving to meet dramatic changes in the media landscape but also by expanding into key business services, including health care information and technology with the aim of raising the standard of excellence in patient care. Steve’s vision for Hearst’s health businesses, his role helping to guide the company’s philanthropy in health and social services, and his personal commitment as a trustee of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have distinguished him as a prominent and pivotal leader in the national and New York health care community.

 

While it’s uncommon for a journalist and editor to make a seamless transition to become a CEO of a global corporation, Steve is one of those rare people. After developing a passion for journalism at Harvard, Steve made a name for himself as a reporter and Page One editor at The Wall Street Journal, and, in the early 1990s, as founding editor and then CEO of SmartMoney magazine. Frank Bennack, Jr., Hearst’s longtime and legendary CEO and current executive vice chairman, recognized Steve’s media industry expertise and his potential to build businesses that would lead Hearst successfully into the next era.

Steve’s corporate career soared quickly. He led Hearst Newspapers from 2009 until 2011, then became Hearst’s chief operating officer in 2011, and in 2013, he assumed the role of president and CEO. One of Steve’s first major initiatives was announcing Hearst Health in 2014, a new brand to encompass and further develop Hearst’s health care information businesses, provide the next generation of clinical decision support, and communicate a common mission across the clinical, pharmacy, home and hospice care, and health insurance markets.

Hearst Health’s network includes FDB (First Databank), which manages drug and medical device databases; Zynx Health, which offers clinical decision support; MCG (formerly Milliman Care Guidelines), independent clinical care guidelines; MHK, a software solution for health plans; Homecare Homebase, software for home care and hospice agencies; and Hearst Health Ventures, which invests in IT start-ups.

The collective goal of these companies is to help guide the most important patient care moments by putting vital information in the hands of those who touch a person’s health journey—making care safer, of higher quality, and more cost-effective. For example, emergency departments use their checklists to evaluate patients. ICU clinicians consult their information to guide medication decisions. And when an elderly patient is discharged from the hospital, home care agencies use their information to prevent avoidable rehospitalization.

“Steve’s management style is collaborative and collegial, and it’s always driven by very smart questions and inquiry as we think through new directions and expand our work,” says Hearst Health president Greg Dorn, MD.

A top Hearst priority is ensuring that all types of providers and health plans—including Medicaid plans and providers in underserved areas—have access to the companies’ information. That broad approach has translated into vast reach: Hearst estimates that each year in the U.S., its care guidance reaches 85 percent of discharged patients and 205 million insured individuals. It also informs 77 million home health visits and 3.2 billion dispensed prescriptions.

Complementing this extraordinary corporate reach is the Hearst Foundations’ strategic grantmaking in support of health care, social services, educational, and cultural programs, which benefits hundreds of nonprofits in the greater New York area. The Foundations (which include two independent private philanthropies) award health grants that help low-income populations gain access to high-quality care and address workforce shortages. And their social service grants tackle the roots of chronic poverty and target at-risk populations, including low-income children and families, refugees and immigrants, family caregivers, the unemployed, and seniors. Hearst also generously supports United Hospital Fund’s work to build a more effective health care system.

Steve Swartz’s personal leadership extends to his active role as a trustee of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where he co-chairs the budget and finance committee and is a member of the information technology committee. He and his wife are also generous supporters, with a particular interest in Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.

The commitment demonstrated by Steve Swartz and Hearst to improving health and advancing the best in patient care is extraordinary. On behalf of the entire New York health care community, United Hospital Fund is proud to honor an inspiring leader and exceptional individual.