The Oswego Health Board of Directors announce that effective January 1, 2023, with the retirement of Michael Harlovic, Michael Backus will be the health system’s new president and CEO.
Since 2017, Harlovic has overseen the strategic, executive, and operational guidance for Oswego Health and his leadership has been pivotal in the expansion of services and has made access to local healthcare a priority of the organization.
While serving as president and CEO, Harlovic has been instrumental in expanding specialty care services including the Center for Weight Loss & Surgery, Center for Wound Healing, and bringing physical therapy services to Lake Ontario Prompt Care; he solidified a partnership with Oswego Family Physicians and in 2018 it was the first primary care practice to join the health system; later that year, in collaboration with Novelis, Oswego Health opened a PrimeCare office onsite for all employees; in 2019, the state-of-the-art Center for Orthopedic Care opened in Fulton and University Hill Gastroenterology Associates joined the health system and became the Center for Gastroenterology & Metabolic Diseases.
He spearheaded the development and transformation of the 42,000 square foot Lakeview Center for Mental Health and Wellness in 2021; approved $7 million in renovations to Oswego Hospital’s Medical-Surgical Units and expanded access to primary care in both Fulton and Oswego with the opening of two additional practices.
“Though his career in healthcare spans nearly 40 years, Michael’s leadership and forward-thinking has never been more evident than throughout the past two years as he’s helped guide not only the health system but this community throughout the pandemic,” said board chair Atom Avery. “His ability to take on significant challenges and responsibilities, combined with his foresight for growth and resources has positioned Oswego Health as a strong, independent health system, one in which our community needs.”
The board felt it was critical to succeed Harlovic with someone who could take the vision of the organization and groundwork laid and continue to evolve and meet the needs of the community. Fortunately, joining Oswego Health during the height of the pandemic in 2020, Backus has been the chief operating officer and executive vice president and has been working alongside Harlovic and other members of the senior leadership team to stabilize the health system.
“We’re confident in Michael Backus and his ability to take Oswego Health to the next level and provide the quality of care this community deserves and needs,” said vice chair Ed Alberts. “Lifelong resident, a local leader, and someone who is beyond vested in this community, Backus will not only offer a smooth transition for staff but continue to advocate and position Oswego Health as a leader in local healthcare.”
In just two years Backus has proven to be an advocate for local healthcare as he currently has several multi-million-dollar grant applications in front of state and federal agencies to further increase access to high-quality care for Oswego County residents, including strategic infrastructure planning for Fulton and Oswego.
He’s made significant impacts on the health system as he manages the daily operations of the health system, including renovations of the AMS building in Fulton as Oswego Health opened its second PrimeCare location; is the conduit for local government and community providers throughout the pandemic to ensure resources are readily available, and he’s very focused on the culture of the organization by being actively involved in recruitment and retention efforts as one of the major employers in Oswego County.
Backus holds a master’s degree in public administration, along with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Le Moyne College, where he is also a member of the Board of Regents and was recently accepted into the American Hospital Association NextGen Fellowship Program.
Harlovic and Backus will continue to work together to ensure a smooth transition throughout the remainder of 2022.
Backus is set to officially start in the new position as president and CEO in January 2023.