Claus von Zychlin is remembered as a man of compassion, wisdom, and action. He passed away October 26 at the age of 65 while battling an ongoing illness.
von Zychlin was a strong, visionary leader in healthcare administration who managed turnaround situations, grew programs, developed successful joint ventures, and led new facility development projects. In addition, he was genuinely passionate about patient-centered healthcare built upon clinical quality, physician and community relationships, staff development, sound fiscal management, and ethical and mission-centered strategies.
In 2016, von Zychlin stepped down after more than a decade of serving as the chief executive officer of the $1.7 billion, four-hospital Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, an organization that included one of the largest Colleges of Nursing in the state of Ohio, as well as a strong medical education program and a highly successful Medicare Advantage insurance plan. In that role, von Zychlin successfully transitioned a loosely affiliated group of hospitals into an operating division within Trinity Health, and led it to become one of Trinity's highest performing systems. In addition, his efforts in system reorganization resulted in improved operating performance and the establishment of a Quality and Safety Institute, which garnered Mount Carmel a third-place ranking among Trinity's hospitals for quality and safety goals.
The Mount Carmel von Zychlin Healthy Living Center was dedicated in Claus’ honor upon his retirement. It is a community health and wellness center that provides free holistic health and wellness programs for everyone, empowering and equipping each individual to embrace long-term health behavior changes in a safe, inclusive space.
Previously, von Zychlin served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the $700 million, three-hospital TriHealth system in Cincinnati; as senior executive officer of the 550-bed Christ Hospital in Cincinnati; as president and chief executive officer of Little Company of Mary Hospital in the Chicago suburbs; as assistant administrator of Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois; and as the director of housing for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. He began his career as a buyer in the advanced technology group of the Fortune 500 Sundstrand Corp. in Rockford, Ill.
von Zychlin served as a board member for many organizations, including the Ohio Hospital Association, Columbus Partnership, United Way, American Heart Association, and the YMCA. He most recently served as Executive in Residence for Tamarind Hill, a venture fund focused on supporting IT-based startup companies in the healthcare space in the Midwest. He held a bachelor's degree in accounting and business administration from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, and an MBA in finance and marketing from Northern Illinois University.
After retiring in 2016, Claus and his beloved wife of 41 years, Susan, split their time between Marco Island, FL, and Glenview, IL. Never one to sit still, he continued his work as a consultant for healthcare startup companies and mentoring younger professionals. However, his great joy came from the time he was able to spend with family and friends; pursuing his many hobbies with the same passion and dedication he was known for throughout his career.
He is survived by his wife Susan (nee Eggert), and three children, Kara, of Chicago, Kirsten, of Columbus, OH and Kurt of Philadelphia; sister Christa von Zychlin (Wayne Nieminen) of Albuquerque, NM; and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents Paul and Magdalene and sister Karin Gaines.
Contributions in Claus’ memory may be made to the Mount Carmel Foundation, von Zychlin Healthy Living Center Fund, 6150 E Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43213 or at mountcarmelfoundation.org (Direct My Gift to: MCF Healthy Living Center).
A memorial service is planned for Wednesday November 25, 1pm EST
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