LifeCare Health Partners has chosen James E. Murray to serve as CEO effective April 1. He replaces Phillip Douglas, who announced last year that he would retire after a decade in his role.
Chief Operating Officer Frank Battafarano will also now serve as president at the Plano, Texas-based health system, which operates 24 long-term acute-care hospitals in nine states.
Murray comes to LifeCare from Humana, where he was executive vice president and COO.
Murray has been on the board of LifeCare since 2016. He became COO of Humana in 2006 after serving for 28 years in various roles at the insurer, including chief financial officer. Previously, he was a partner at Coopers & Lybrand, which later became PricewaterhouseCoopers. Murray will continue to serve as an adviser to Humana through the end of the year.
After Murray joined the board of LifeCare, he “immediately impressed the other board members with his deep engagement in our strategic planning process and his financial and operational acumen,” LifeCare Chairman Jeff Goldberg said in a news release.
Battafarano has been COO of LifeCare since 2014. Before that, he spent 20 years at Kindred Healthcare, where he boosted operating income in the hospital division and developed a managed care strategy.
"Frank is an executive with unequaled experience in both LTACH operations and diversified post-acute services,” Murray said in a news release.
In 2012, LifeCare faced the possibility of being sold or restructured as it looked for ways to solve its massive debt. Douglas led the system through that period and to substantial growth, acquiring several facilities and venturing into a broader array of post-acute-care services.