Hank Wells Submitted Photo

UA Healthcare Inc. has hired a hospital and medical-school-administration expert to be interim CEO.

The company announced Tuesday that Hank Wells will lead UA Healthcare until a permanent CEO takes over, as early as the end of the year.

Wells has experience from interim executive posts around the nation, and he has worked as an administrator at the University of Missouri health-care system and at the University of California-San Francisco medical group.

He had been working as a consultant to the UA medical school since March, and last year he served as an interim deputy dean at the medical school.

UA Healthcare's previous interim CEO, Kevin Burns, resigned last month during a political dispute regarding oversight of the $1.2 billion nonprofit health-care system.

The search for a permanent CEO was in progress before Burns quit.

"We've been through some challenging times over the last few weeks, but we don't need to let that challenge get in the way of the enormous progress that's been made since UA Healthcare formed last year," Wells said. "My goal is to continue the progress that's been made and assist in bringing people together so we're focused on the future and not on the past."

UA Healthcare was formed as the result of a merger last year of University Medical Center Corp. and University Physicians Healthcare. The company supports the UA medical school.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 807-8012.