Health careHot Sheet

Colorado’s lieutenant governor to return to health care

Author: Mark Harden - November 21, 2018 - Updated: November 21, 2018

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donna LynneLt. Gov. Donna Lynne (Photo by Nicole Cassou/Colorado Politics file photo)

Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, whose term ends in January, announced Wednesday she will re-enter the health-care sector after leaving office.

Lynne — who finished last in the four-way June primary race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination — will become chief operating officer of New York’s Columbia University Medical Center and chief executive officer of ColumbiaDoctors, an organization of 1,800 Columbia physicians.Before being appointed lieutenant governor following the resignation of Joe Garcia in 2016, Lynne was president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado for 11 years, and before that served as an official in New York City government for two decades.

She also serves as Colorado’s chief operating officer.

“I am so proud of our state leaders and our employees, from those I met as I traveled the state to those working next to my office at the Capitol. I can’t thank Gov. Hickenlooper enough for this opportunity to work with him and serve our state,” Lynne said in a statement.

> RELATED: Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne traded her Big Apple for a Gold Dome

Lynne will be succeeded at lieutenant governor by Dianne Primavera, Gov.-elect Jared Polis’ running mate.

Lynne shared the news in a group email to friends Wednesday afternoon after he office made the announcement in a press release. She said that because of  those friends she would not rule out a return to Colorado some day.

“The greatest gift of the last 13 years has been the many professional and personal relationships I have had,” she wrote. “Everyone of you welcomed me and helped me navigate the business and government world.

“I am especially grateful to Governor Hickenlooper for that late evening call three years ago when he asked me to consider serving the state. It was a very easy decision and filled with so many great moments. And I am thoroughly enjoying the work in our closing months as we focus on ensuring a smooth transition for the Polis Administration.”

Below is the full text of Wednesday’s announcement.


Lt. Governor Lynne to join one of the nation’s most prestigious medical organizations  

Lt. Governor and Chief Operating Officer Donna Lynne today announced that she is returning to health care, and in mid-January will take on a dual role as the Chief Executive Officer of Columbia Doctors and as the Chief Operating Officer of Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

“The greatest gift of the last 14 years has been the many professional and personal relationships I have had” said Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer Donna Lynne. “I am so proud of our state leaders and our employees – from those I met as I traveled the state to those working next to my office at the Capitol. I can’t thank Gov. Hickenlooper enough for this opportunity to work with him and serve our state.”

“There is no one like Donna. She took on the new role of chief operating officer and was able to do so in dramatically swift fashion all while serving as a world-class lieutenant governor,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “Donna is one of my most trusted advisors. Colorado owes her enormous gratitude for providing us such a shining example of how government should serve its citizens.”

Lynne joined the Governor’s Office in early 2016 after 11 years as President of Kaiser Permanente Colorado and Executive Vice President of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, with responsibility for Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Colorado. In her dual role as the Lt. Governor and Chief Operating Officer, Lynne engages in all aspects of state leadership, including the development and execution of policy, legislation, operations, and the budget. Lt. Governor Lynne acts as the chair for multiple commissions and programs, such as the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, Colorado Space Coalition, the Early Childhood Leadership Commission, and the Governor’s Commission on Community Service. She also serves on the Governor’s Education Leadership Council. The Lt. Governor’s Office also oversees the Colorado State Innovation Model for health care and the Office of eHealth Innovation.

Lynne is recognized as one of the top women business leaders in Denver and one of the top 25 women in health care in the nation. She participated in more than 15 external boards and commissions during her time at Kaiser Permanente including the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the Denver Public Schools Foundation Board.

Lynne will remain with the Governor’s Office through the transition of Governor-elect Jared Polis and is actively working to support that transition.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.