Dr. Ramanathan Raju, CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, was chosen to succeed Alan Aviles as the leader of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.
Raju, who was ranked among Modern Healthcare's 50 Most Influential Physician Executives in 2013, would be returning to New York's public hospital system a little more than two years after leaving to assume leadership of the county-run system in Chicago.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment Tuesday. It must be ratified by the Health and Hospitals Corp. board, which is scheduled to meet Jan. 30. Aviles was named Health and Hospitals Corp. CEO in 2005.
“Under my leadership, the HHC will continue its mission of ensuring New Yorkers have access to quality healthcare options—from major hospitals to neighborhood clinics—no matter where they live,” Raju said in a news release announcing his selection.
The two-hospital Cook County system recruited Raju in mid-2011 from the New York city-owned health system, where he was chief medical officer, chief operating officer and executive vice president. Prior to that, Raju was COO and CMO of HHC's Coney Island Hospital.
The new role will put Raju at the head of a dozen public hospitals and a health plan. He will inherit a health system damaged by the 2012 superstorm Sandy, which forced the evacuation and temporary closure of HHC's Bellevue and Coney Island hospitals and forced the system to invest to prepare for future storms
The Health and Hospitals Corp. closed its books for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, with $7.3 billion in revenue and operating losses of $560.3 million. The most recent financial results available for Cook County Health and Hospitals Systems, for the year ended Nov. 30, 2012, show revenue of $565.6 million and an operating loss of $109.1 million.
Aviles has not decided what he will do next but is considering various offers, an HHC spokeswoman said. He is expected to take a year off to travel and spend time with his family, she said.
In a statement, Aviles said de Blasio's choice “reflects his progressive plan for the city and the acknowledgment that healthcare is a fundamental priority.” Aviles called Raju “a transformational physician and an executive who has a unique combination of strategic, operational, and clinical experience and a strong and dynamic vision of how to advance organizational excellence.” Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans