TRAVERSE CITY — Munson Medical Center will have new leadership when the hospital system returns to its traditional management structure.
Munson Healthcare, the Traverse City hospital's parent organization, announced Alfred E. Pilong Jr. has been hired as president of Munson Medical Center. He will replace Kathleen McManus, who is retiring. McManus ran the hospital since 2010 as chief operating officer and executive vice president.
Munson hired a national search firm to recruit candidates for the position. A committee of board members, senior executives, and the medical staff interviewed six candidates, said Ed Ness, CEO and president of Munson Healthcare. Pilong was president of the 445-bed Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va., about an hour's drive northwest of Washington D.C., where he also was senior vice president of a six-hospital system similar to Munson Healthcare.
"What made Al stand out is his background from Virginia is very similar to Munson Medical Center in both size and scope, and he comes from a hospital committed to quality of nursing and physician practice, so culturally he was a good fit," Ness said.
McManus told Ness last fall she decided to retire in a year. Ness said he then decided to return to a management structure that had been in place for most of Munson Healthcare's 28-year history.
"Our priority would be to have someone dedicated to making sure Munson Medical Center is positioned well for the future, and I need to make sure the entire system develops and serves all the needs for our community," Ness said.
Pilong's role will be similar to McManus' but with a bit more responsibility, Ness said.
Pilong starts April 3 and will work with McManus to transition into his new role. McManus also will spend some of her remaining time positioning Munson for changes under federal healthcare reform laws, Ness said. McManus plans to leave in the fall.
"I couldn’t be more pleased with this tremendous opportunity. It's a great organization with great quality, with a great team of leaders and staff in a beautiful area," Pilong said."I'm going to listen and get to know people and understand their strengths and culture."
Pilong began his medical career as a pharmacist; he has master's degrees in both business administration and divinity. He is married with three children, two in college and one in middle school.