Memorial Hermann gets new CEO
* Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Houston, selected Daniel Wolterman, its current senior vice president, to succeed retiring President and CEO Dan Wilford. Wolterman, 46, has been senior vice president for four years, overseeing the management of seven of Memorial Hermann's 11 hospitals, as well as two long-term acute-care facilities. He will start his new job Nov. 1. Wilford, 62, is retiring after leading Memorial Hermann and a predecessor system for 18 years. The board of directors conducted a national search for Wilford's replacement before selecting Wolterman because of his "strong relationships with our board members, medical staff, employees and communities," A.T. Blackshear Jr., the board chairman, said in a written statement.
Methodist names new president
* Methodist Hospital, Houston, has named Ronald Girotto, 60, as its president and CEO. Girotto, who has been acting president and CEO for the past year, formally replaces Peter Butler, who resigned in September 2001. Girotto previously retired from the four-hospital system in 1999 after serving as COO and CFO. He returned after Butler's departure. Methodist said Girotto will focus on maintaining good relations with physicians.
Health Net taps a top doc
* Health Net, Woodland Hills, Calif., has named William Bracciodieta, M.D., chief medical officer for its western region, a newly created position. Previously, Bracciodieta, 57, was chief medical officer at 2.2 million-member Trigon Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Richmond, Va., which was acquired by Blues consolidator Anthem in July. In his new post, Bracciodieta will head up medical and quality management for Health Net's largest health plan, 2 million-member Health Net of California, as well as for 85,000-member Health Net of Oregon.
Promotion at St. Louis Mercy
* Sisters of Mercy Health System, St. Louis, has promoted Jim Jaacks to the position of senior vice president and CFO. Jaacks, 38, has served as vice president and CFO of Mercy-the eighth-largest Catholic health system in the U.S. based on net patient service revenue-since 1999. Mercy operates hospitals, physician practices, outpatient clinics, health plans, and related health and human services in a five-state area including Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Its members include 19 acute-care hospitals, a heart hospital, a psychiatric hospital, a managed-care subsidiary (Mercy Health Plans), physician practices, outpatient-care facilities, home health programs, skilled-nursing services and long-term-care facilities. Jaacks previously served as a senior auditor for Arthur Andersen.
Garrity moves up at Memorial
* Timothy Garrity, 46, was named CEO of Blue Hill (Maine) Memorial Hospital. He replaces Bruce Cummings, who held the post for more than a decade before leaving this year to become CEO of 157-bed Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital. Under Cummings' leadership, BHMH became New England's first federally designated critical-access hospital in 1998 and was among the first hospitals in the country to receive the designation. The 25-bed BHMH has a $9 million operating budget and is located in western Hancock County. "Given the extraordinary pressures on rural hospitals, it is more important than ever that this organization stand out as a national model of preventive and primary healthcare," Garrity said in a written statement. "I am sure we can build on the great tradition that's been established and fulfill our mission to the community." Garrity was vice president of operations at 424-bed Susquehanna Health System in Williamsport, Pa., and also has held management positions at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. "His background and experience give him exceptional tools with which to succeed in this position, and his infectious enthusiasm will make him a popular leader," Gardner Smith, M.D., chairman of Blue Hill's board, said in a written statement. Garrity has a master's degree in health services administration from George Washington University in Washington and a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
Mount Sinai transplant chief out
* In yet another shake-up at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, the head of the besieged liver transplant program resigned last month. Charles Miller, M.D., who performed the first liver transplant in New York 14 years ago, will remain at the hospital and continue to perform liver surgeries, but his administrative role has been supplanted by Jonathan Bromberg, 46, chief of the kidney-pancreas program. As the new surgeon in chief and director of surgical services, Miller will embark on a three-month study tour of the major live-donor transplant centers to develop a state-of-the-art live-donor liver transplantation program at Mount Sinai, officials said. Over the past four years, Miller has raised nearly $10 million for transplant research at the hospital and will continue the effort, they said. A host of problems have plagued Mount Sinai in recent months, both clinically and finan-cially. Most recently the state health department hit the hospital with a new round of fines totaling $66,000 for 33 violations identified in an expanded investigation of 92 patient-care complaints. In March, health officials fined Mount Sinai $48,000 for 18 deficiencies in the postoperative care of a liver donor who died in a highly publicized case.
New genome man
* Alan Guttmacher, M.D., was named deputy director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, the government institute responsible for leading the Human Genome Project. Guttmacher will play a lead role in integrating the rapidly evolving field of genomics into medical practice, help develop new research tools to translate the findings of the Human Genome Project into new diagnostic tests and therapies and oversee strategic planning. Guttmacher has been at the NHGRI since 1999 as the senior clinical adviser to the director, establishing a dialogue with health professionals and the public about the health and societal implications of the Human Genome Project. Before that he was director of the Vermont Regional Genetics Center at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and directed the Vermont Cancer Center's Familial Cancer Program, the Vermont Newborn Screening Program, and Vermont's only pediatric intensive-care unit. He also had a busy practice in clinical genetics, conducted research, and was a tenured associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. "I miss clinical care," Guttmacher said, "but I know that I can make more of an impact on the nation's health now than I could in my prior role."
Federation chief adds a loyalist
* The Federation of American Hospitals, the Washington lobbyist for investor-owned hospitals, continues to reassemble the team that its president, Chip Kahn, led at the Health Insurance Association of America. Teresa Houser was scheduled to begin work this week as the federation's vice president of legislation and political affairs. Houser, who most recently was a senior policy adviser on Medicare and Medicaid issues with the law firm Powell, Goldstein, Frazier & Murphy, Washington, also has worked as federal legislative director for the HIAA, which Kahn led before joining the federation. "Teresa has a keen understanding of health policy and the legislative process," Kahn said in a written statement. "I'm delighted that we'll be reunited." Houser's career includes stints with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Senate Finance Committee and the staff of Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), when Thomas chaired the health subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. After Kahn was named president of the FAH in May 2001, three key executives from the HIAA-Josephine Martin, Susan Van Gelder and Richard Coorsh-followed Kahn to the federation.
Moves at Saint Thomas
* Cindy Wedel has jumped from a system post at Saint Thomas Health Services, Nashville, to become COO of the system's flagship, 483-bed Saint Thomas Hospital. Wedel, 47, left her job as senior vice president of operations for the five-hospital system to take the job being vacated by E. Dale Batchelor, 52, who was promoted to senior vice president and chief physician executive. "Cindy is a proven leader who will help us become the premier spiritually based teaching hospital in the Southeast," said Thomas Beeman, the system's president and CEO. "Dale is a proven leader for us. We now will benefit from his experience as chief physician executive for all of our hospitals."
* Frank Fumai, president and CEO of Cathedral Healthcare System, Newark, N.J., died Sept. 7 after a summerlong battle with cancer. He was 54. In 1994, Fumai was tapped to lead the four-hospital system from Saint Michael's Medical Center, where he was the administrator from 1991 to 1994. Under his leadership, Cathedral grew to become one of the largest providers of charity care in New Jersey. He served on the healthcare transition team for Gov. James McGreevey and was a member of Gov. Christine Todd Whitman's Advisory Commission on Hospitals. He is survived by his wife, Marcol, and two children, Kendra and Kevin.