2017-03-12 / News

Chris Candela picked to lead McLaren Lapeer Region

810-452-2622 • wsmith@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER — Chris M. Candela, a 16-year veteran of the health care industry, has been named the new president and CEO of McLaren Lapeer Region. Candela succeeds Barton “Bart” Buxton who recently moved to McLaren Oakland as its new president and CEO.

Candela will officially start his new job on March 20. He currently holds the position of vice president of operations and chief operating officer for McLaren Macomb, a role he has filled since 2013.

In a memo dated March 8 directed to McLaren Lapeer Region Board of Directors, Medical Staff, Employees and Volunteers, McLaren Health Care Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark O’Halla said, “Today, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Candela to the position of president and CEO of McLaren Lapeer Region. This appointment was approved by the board of directors at McLaren Lapeer Region who considered a number of internal candidates prior to selecting Chris as their choice for their new leader.”

“I am very appreciative of the confidence placed in me by the Board of Directors of McLaren Lapeer Region and the executive team at McLaren Health Care. McLaren Lapeer Region is an exceptional facility serving a vibrant and growing community,” said Candela in press release. “Together with a strong governance board, a diverse and clinically capable medical staff and a very engaged team of employees, we will create an exciting new future for our patients, their families and the community we serve.”

Candela told The County Press he is “excited to get to know the people and the history” of McLaren Lapeer Region. He said his training and practice as a clinician — he specialized in sports medicine and physical therapy — gives him a “perspective from the bedside” as well as the business side of issues. Candela said his business experience ranges from negotiations with employee unions to overseeing multimillion dollar building projects.

Candela joined McLaren in 2008 as director of Rehabilitation Services for McLaren Macomb and in less than a year was promoted to director of Ancillary Services. “Based on his exceptional performance, Chris was promoted to the position of vice president of operations and chief operating officer for McLaren Macomb in 2013,” O’Halla said in the memo and cited several accomplishments that Candela has achieved for the Macomb facility in that leadership role, including overseeing a $41-million Emergency Department expansion/ renovation project, the completion of a $22-million cancer center expansion project ahead of schedule and under budget and delivering the McLaren system’s highest operating margin in 2015 and 2016.

The McLaren Macomb hospital is a 288-bed facility with approximately 1,800 total staff including medical personnel, administrative and support staff. McLaren Lapeer Region is a 222-bed facility with just over 800 employees.

Candela says he knows he is coming into a “very well-run facility with good things happening.” He thinks there is an opportunity to expand services and grow the organization, but won’t make any assumptions about the specifics of that potential growth until he learns more. “I know Bart (Buxton) ran a flat organization there,” Candela said, referring to a lean management team, “and I’m comfortable with that.” He said he’s already talked with some of those managers by phone since the announcement was made on Wednesday. “Everyone has been very welcoming.” Calling himself “a relationship kind of person,” Candela said, “I want to create and grow relationships in Lapeer.”

O’Halla said that McLaren Lapeer’s board and medical staff are “one hundred percent confident in Chris.” O’Halla explained McLaren’s selection process is to first look at internal candidates and then look outside if necessary. In this case, the search went no further than Candela. “Chris is one of our rising talents. He’d been identified in our succession planning process as someone we want to work with. Chris has done a great job as COO in Macomb. Frankly, we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose him to a competing health care system,” O’Halla said.

Kolby Miller, CEO of Medstar Inc., has known and worked with Candela for a number years. “Chris is a great addition to the team at McLaren Lapeer Region. I have worked with him on both high-level strategic and ground-level community projects during his tenure at McLaren Macomb, and know that he is committed to growing the quality and value that the hospital provides in the community. Chris will provide excellent leadership to the team at McLaren Lapeer, as well as valuable support and engagement with community initiatives,” Miller told The County Press.

Candela lives in Shelby Township with his wife and their three middle and high school age children. He said he’s a “pretty typical guy” who likes to play sports, hunt and get involved in home improvement projects. He also dabbles in wine making with his father-in-law.

Prior to joining McLaren Macomb, Candela held administrative positions of increasing responsibility at Henry Ford Health System, Tri Rehab, Inc. (New Baltimore) and Concentra Medical Center (Sterling Heights). Candela earned a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Detroit Mercy where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and a bachelor’s of science in physical therapy degree from Wayne State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude honors.

“I really like working for McLaren,” Candela said. “That was the best decision for my career,” he said of choosing to move to McLaren from Henry Ford Health System. “This (move to Lapeer) is going to be another positive experience.”


New position: President and CEO, McLaren Lapeer Region

Former position: Vice President of Operations and COO McLaren Macomb

Prior work experience: Director of Ancillary Services at McLaren Macomb, Director of Rehabilitation Services at McLaren Macomb, Manager of Rehabilitation Services at Henry Ford Health System, Physical Therapist

Key career accomplishments:

• Direct service line responsibilities for both clinical and non-clinical areas including Rehabilitation Services, Pharmacy, Respiratory Care, Pulmonary Function Lab, EEG, Laboratory, Radiology, Operating Room, Cancer Services, Clinical Engineering, Plant Operations, Central Transportation, Security, Housekeeping, Nutritional Services, Construction Management, Real Estate, and Plant Operations

• Achieved hospital’s first Accreditation by the Joint Commission

• Facilitated Anesthesia Management contract resulting in $1.2 million annual cost savings

• Responsible for negotiating physician and physician group contracts to include quality performance metrics

• Completed a $22-million cancer center expansion project ahead of schedule and under budget

• Oversaw the turnkey construction of a $41-million Emergency Department expansion/renovation project

• Delivered the McLaren system’s highest operating margin in FY 2015 and FY 2016

• Achieved second highest clinical quality scores in the corporation

• Sustained 99th percentile outpatient customer satisfaction scores

Education: Master’s of business administration degree from the University of Detroit Mercy (Summa Cum Laude); bachelor’s of science in physical therapy degree from Wayne State University (Magna Cum Laude)

Personal: Age 47; married with three children; lives in Shelby Township. Describes himself as a regular guy who likes sports, home improvement projects and wine making.

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