Prof. Suzanne Richards is currently serving as the CEO of SMR Healthcare Management, Inc. after six years of successful leadership as the Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Operations for KPC Healthcare, overseeing a group of seven acute care hospitals. She also serves as Chief Executive Officer for its Southern California-based flagship hospital and regional trauma center, Orange County Global Medical Center. Prior to her appointment as Chief Executive Officer of the health system, Ms. Richards served as its Chief Operations Officer.
Named Businesswoman of the Year in 2017 by the Orange County Business Journal, Ms. Richards is an accomplished healthcare executive with a diverse background in management and direct patient care. Throughout her career spanning more than twenty-five years, she has added significant value to the organizations and people she has served. She is now providing innovative leadership and a strategic vision to KPC Health and its system of community hospitals. KPC funds approximately $47 million in Medi-Cal/Medi-Cal Managed Care, and another $40 million in charity/indigent costs annually. In addition to her duties as a corporate and hospital CEO, in 2014 Ms. Richards was appointed by the CalOptima Board of Directors as the Hospital Representative to the Provider Advisory Committee, an agency ranked California’s top Medi-Cal Plan by NCQA for 2014-15 with $3 billion in revenues serving over 500,000 members. In 2014, she was elected by her peers to serve as the Orange County Area Representative on the Board of Directors for the Hospital Association of Southern California and is currently its chairwoman. In 2015, Ms. Richards was selected by the Orange County Board of Supervisors to serve on an Ad Hoc Committee tasked with developing policy reforms to address Emergency Department overcrowding and the need for expanding Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilization services.
She has served as CEO, COO and CNO at for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Ms. Richards has extensive experience with diverse medical groups, health plans, IPAs, workers’ compensation case management, Medi-Cal, and healthcare legal consultation. She was also a statistics professor for undergraduate/graduate programs at the University of Phoenix.
A licensed Registered Nurse, Ms. Richards graduated from the California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and spent the majority of her clinical career as an intensive care unit nurse. She earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) with an emphasis in Biostatistics from Loma Linda University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of California, Irvine in the Healthcare Executive Program. Ms. Richards is also a former surveyor for The Joint Commission and has conducted accreditation surveys of healthcare entities throughout the United States since 2005.
Ms. Richards is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), a Certified Healthcare Executive (CHE), a Diplomat of the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians (CHCQM), a Certified HIPAA Professional (CHP), a Fellow of the American Institute of Healthcare Quality (FAIHQ), and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).
Ms. Richards is a member and/or leader of multiple associations including the American Heart Association Orange County, March of Dimes Executive Leadership in multiple counties and Victor Valley College Foundation Board. She is frequently a featured speaker on healthcare throughout the California University system and the Military Officers Association of America.