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Washington Hospital CEO of 25 Years Nancy D. Farber to Retire

Washington Hospital CEO of 25 Years Nancy D. Farber to Retire

Led Hospital from Small Rural Hospital to Renowned Regional Healthcare System

Fremont, Calif.—Nancy D. Farber, Chief Executive Officer of Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS), this week announced her retirement after 25 years as CEO and 35 years of service to the Healthcare System. Per her contract, Ms. Farber submitted her 180-day notice to the board on May 1, 2019. The board of directors will be appointing her successor.

Ms. Farber announced her retirement to the Healthcare System in a personal letter to the Hospital’s staff and physicians.

“I have been considering retirement for some time now … it is not an easy decision,” she wrote. “After 35 years of being a WHHS employee, and the last 25 years as its CEO, it has become a way of life. I am extremely proud to work with all of you.”

A visionary from the beginning, Ms. Farber first joined Washington Hospital as chief of strategic management in 1984. One of her early strategic achievements before being named CEO was the acquisition of Washington West, which today houses many outpatient programs. There was also the creation of the Washington Outpatient Surgery Center, a very successful partnership with local community physicians that remains in place today. Ms. Farber’s 25 years as CEO are exemplified by numerous strategic initiatives that define Washington Hospital Healthcare System today and have positioned the Hospital as one of the regional providers of choice that competes with large systems, including academic medical centers.

“We cannot thank Nancy enough for her dedication, vision, and service to this Hospital and our community,” said Bernard Stewart, DDS, president of the board of directors. “It is an understatement to say that the next person has big shoes to fill. We have been fortunate to
have Nancy’s leadership successfully navigating the growth of this Healthcare System for the past 25 years.”

Under Ms. Farber’s leadership, Washington Hospital has remained true to the vision of community members who in the late 1940s, worked tirelessly to establish an independent local community-serving hospital for the residents of the Tri-City Area. Ms. Farber believes that her commitment to the provision of not-for-profit health care within the district is best encapsulated in a speech that was given by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1995 to the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago, entitled “Making the Case for Not-For-Profit Healthcare.” In his speech, Cardinal Bernardin emphasized the basic tenant that health care services should never be treated as a commodity and that the not-for-profit structure is the preferred model for delivering health care services. Ms. Farber is a faithful proponent of an independent and locally owned and operated hospital, which ensures that the broad scope of acute care services meets the health care needs of the diverse communities the Hospital serves. She has kept the covenant with the founders of Washington Township by embracing local accountability. She was instrumental in helping create legislation to ensure that assets of any district hospital in California could not be sold to private entities without a public vote. And when she was appointed CEO 25 years ago, she was instrumental in bringing the core value of the Patient First Ethic to the organization, which today is engrained in the culture from the board of directors to the front line staff, ensuring that all decisions made have the patient at the center.

“I want to single out the community’s commitment to building and supporting our Hospital and allowing it to grow with the community,” said Ms. Farber. “The community owns Washington Hospital, which makes residents of the health care district the Hospital’s stakeholders. This is why profits are reinvested into the Hospital’s programs and services rather than being sent to distant investors. That local ownership is what makes this community unique and we should all be thankful for this treasure.”

Washington Hospital celebrated its 60th anniversary as a community hospital this past year. The Hospital was founded and financed by residents seeking to have quality medical care available to them in their community. With a commitment to local control and locally focused health care, Ms. Farber’s leadership led to the Hospital being named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Healthgrades in 2018. This recognition placed Washington Hospital among the top 2 percent of U.S. hospitals for clinical excellence. Additionally, during her tenure, the Healthcare System has experienced overall unprecedented financial success.

While the average tenure nationally for a hospital CEO is less than five years, Ms. Farber’s tenure of a quarter century is uncommon and has strongly contributed to the success of the Healthcare System. Since leading the Hospital as CEO in 1994, Ms. Farber has expanded numerous Hospital programs, including neurosurgical care through the formation of the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute. The Ohlone Student Health Center at the local community
college was established in 1996 and to this day, the college campus clinic is operated by Washington Hospital. The award-winning Institute for Joint Restoration and Research program was established in 1999 and has since become an internationally renowned program that continues to draw patients from throughout the U.S. and beyond. A community mammogram program was established in 2000 for underinsured and uninsured women in need of mammograms. To safeguard that community residents have access to comprehensive specialty care locally, Ms. Farber created the Washington Township Medical Foundation in 2010, which today is home to close to 90 providers caring for thousands of Tri-City Area residents. To better serve our community locally, in 2013, Ms. Farber led the strategic affiliation with UCSF Health, which brought academic medical care and programs into Southern Alameda County. At the same time, she embraced innovative programs to improve Hospital efficiency such as LEAN (The Toyota Management System). These are only a few of Ms. Farber’s strategic initiatives that are helping address the community’s health care needs today and into the future.

While expanding health care programs for the greater community, Ms. Farber led the organization to successfully obtain community support for the construction of new medical facilities to meet the growing needs of the community and the state’s stringent earthquake standards. This included the Central Utility Plant and most recently in November 2018, Washington Hospital celebrated the opening of the state-of-the-art Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion, a 224,800 square-foot medical facility that houses an expanded Emergency Department and Critical Care, as well as oncology, telemetry and intermediate care units. Under Ms. Farber’s leadership, this is the largest public works project in the district and will make it possible for the Hospital to apply for trauma designation. This project was completed on time and on budget. This new Hospital building completed phase two, of three phases, of a Facilities Master Plan that commenced in 1992.

During her years of service, Ms. Farber has been active in the health care industry and in her local community, having previously served on numerous health care boards and committees, including the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard, a legislative appointee to the California’s Managed Care Improvement Task Force and the California Hospital Association Board of Directors, among others.

Ms. Farber received her Bachelor of Arts with honors from Stanford University and received a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health.

About Washington Township Health Care District

Washington Township Health Care District is governed by an elected board and includes Washington Hospital Healthcare System. Unlike a municipal or county hospital, Washington Hospital’s operating expenses, research, community programs, and employee salaries are funded by revenues generated through providing patient and other health care services. Opened in 1958, Washington Hospital Healthcare System has grown to include a 415-bed, acute-care hospital; the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute; The Gamma Knife® Center; Washington Radiation Oncology Center; Washington Outpatient Surgery Center; Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center; Institute for Joint Restoration and Research; Washington Township Medical Foundation; and Washington West, a complex which houses UCSF – Washington Cancer Center, Washington Women’s Center, Outpatient Imaging Center, Sandy Amos RN Infusion Center, Washington Urgent Care and additional outpatient hospital services and administrative facilities. Discover more at, and through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.