Warner Thomas was named President and CEO of Ochsner Health System in 2012 after previously serving as President and Chief Operating Officer from 1998-2012. He is the CEO of Louisiana’s largest non-profit academic health system and its largest private employer.
Today, Ochsner employs more than 26,000 employees and nearly 1,500 employed physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts more than 750 clinical research studies. The system coordinates and provides clinical and hospital patient care across the Gulf South region through its 41 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, and more than 115 health and urgent care centers.
Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across two adult specialty categories and two pediatric specialties and every year cares for patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries.
Under Thomas’s leadership, Ochsner has expanded across Louisiana and the Gulf South to become a national and global destination for healthcare. The system’s strategy revolves around supporting the growing needs of the patient population and providing specialty services where and when patients need it. Some of this is accomplished in partnership with other strong healthcare organizations across the Gulf South, and provides the opportunity for Ochsner to scale patient-centered technology and other solutions to bring advanced care closer to home.
Thomas has been instrumental in developing a population health focus at Ochsner, delivering programs and resources that empower patients to effectively manage chronic conditions while also maintaining focus on preventive measures, screenings and education to help people stay well and avoid preventable disease. He also worked to launch innovationOchsner in 2015, an Ochsner lab designed to create health advancements to address national issues including chronic disease management, as well as to support and partner with companies working to revolutionize patient-centered care. Internally, Thomas spearheaded the creation of the Ochsner Learning Institute which provides free professional education for all Ochsner leaders to better prepare them to confront challenges, seek opportunity and ignite enthusiasm around best practices in healthcare.
Thomas was appointed to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission in 2014 where he continues to advise Congress on issues affecting Medicare. He has served as Chairman of the American Hospital Association Section for Health Systems Governing Council and is a past member of both the Board of the American Medical Group Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges Advisory Panel for Health Care and Council of Teaching Hospitals. Additionally, Thomas is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Louisiana Hospital Association board member and a member of both the Young Presidents Organization and New Orleans Business Council.
Thomas received an undergraduate degree in accounting and computer information systems from New Hampshire College in Manchester, N.H., and his Master of Business Administration degree in 1994 from Boston University Graduate School of Management. He is also a certified public accountant.
Thomas is a recipient of the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award, the Anti-Defamation League 2018 A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award, and was named the 2017 CEO of the Year by Biz New Orleans magazine, one of Glassdoor Top CEOs in 2018 and one of Ernst &Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® in the Healthcare & Related Services category for the Gulf Coast Area in 2019.