University Health CEO resigns amid bacterial outbreak
University Hospital President and CEO John Kastanis resigned Thursday amid a deadly bacterial outbreak at the hospital's neonatal intensive-care unit.
The outbreak of the hospital-acquired infection also prompted a response from Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who called for an overhaul of leadership.
Kastanis will leave his post on Dec. 14 and transition back to his teaching and consulting work, according to a news release issued by the academic medical center Thursday.
The outgoing CEO said in a statement that he is proud to have built a talented leadership team that he continually challenged to improve the quality of care. Before his three-year tenure at University Hospital, Kastanis was president and CEO of Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.
"We appreciate John's service at University Hospital and wish him well as he begins this next chapter of his career," Tanya Freeman, University Hospital board chair, said in a statement. "The board will continue to work with the leadership team to drive sustainable change at the hospital."
The Leapfrog Group gave University Hospital a "D" quality rating in November, up from its "F" rating issued in the Leapfrog's spring report.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy assigned a care quality monitor in July. The hospital also had its bond rating downgraded four notches due to financial difficulties and attempted to reduce the number of pediatric beds without state approval, the governor said.
More action is needed, said Baraka, who called for state and federal support to revamp the emergency room, improve the trauma center and build more outpatient clinics.
"In 1968, the state and federal governments negotiated a detailed pact with the people of Newark to create a top-notch medical facility with community involvement and oversight in perpetuity," he said in a statement. "On the 50th anniversary of the Newark Agreement, it's time to keep the promise."
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