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October 18, 2021 POWER 25 HEALTHCARE

2021 Power 25 Health Care: Dr. Andrew Agwunobi

Andrew Agwunobi was so well-liked as CEO of UConn Health, the state’s flagship university decided to give him a second job.

A big one.

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, CEO, UConn Health

Earlier this year, Agwunobi was named interim president of the University of Connecticut, following the sudden departure of former school head Thomas Katsouleas.

And it may not be a bad thing to have a healthcare CEO lead a major university in the middle of a pandemic.

Agwunobi is already making his mark as the school has implemented a vaccine requirement this semester for both students and faculty.

Agwunobi is a pediatrician by training, but his patient for the past six years has been a $1.2-billion hospital and medical and dental school that consistently produces significant budget deficits, largely driven by “unsustainable” increases in pension and healthcare costs. Earlier this year Agwunobi asked state lawmakers for a 174 million, three-year bailout.

Agwunobi, who previously held hospital system leadership roles in Washington and Georgia, has spent much time in recent years responding to legislators’ demands to find a suitable path forward for the clinical operations of UConn Health, through an envisioned acquisition of or co-investment in John Dempsey Hospital and UConn’s medical group.

UConn Health, which pursued an ultimately unsuccessful merger with Hartford HealthCare in 2009, received several confidential proposals in 2018, but Agwunobi and his board decided not to pursue them.

The continued losses come despite a major expansion of UConn Health’s John Dempsey Hospital facilities during the past decade, backed by more than $250 million approved by state lawmakers at the outset of the Malloy administration in 2011.

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