Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hospital Executive Is Said to Be Choice for State Health Chief

New York Times RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

Extra!!! Extra!!!! Read all about it!!!!!!! maybe the Times called the psychic network?? andy

Gov. Eliot Spitzer will name Dr. Richard F. Daines, the chief executive of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan, to be the new state health commissioner, according to several executives in the hospital industry.
The appointment, which the executives said could be announced today, would designate the person to carry out a painful, politically charged downsizing plan that will close nine hospitals around the state and merge or shrink dozens of others.
The commissioner also heads a sprawling department that runs the Medicaid program, which consumes about 40 percent of the state budget.
The governor’s office declined to comment, and calls to officials at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center were not returned.
But several industry officials, who were granted anonymity because they did not want to risk angering the governor by disclosing the appointment before the official announcement, said that they had talked with the governor’s advisers and that Dr. Daines was the choice.
Dr. Daines would bring to the job an intimate knowledge of New York’s health care economy and the way decisions in Albany reverberate for providers and patients.
By contrast, previous commissioners have had backgrounds primarily in public health policy or administration in other states. Hospital officials said that the Spitzer team had seriously considered several people with practical experience in the state’s health care industry.
There was some carping among hospital officials at the selection of Dr. Daines, because he is associated with Continuum Health Partners, the parent company of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt, which was viewed as having survived well in the statewide hospital downsizing plan — the same plan the new commissioner will carry out.
Governor Spitzer has already rearranged the major policymaking positions on his health care team in ways that health care experts say could limit the power of the new commissioner.
Dennis P. Whalen, who will work in the governor’s office as Mr. Spitzer’s chief health care adviser, carries more knowledge and authority into that position than any recent predecessor. He is currently the longtime executive deputy commissioner of the Health Department. And Governor Spitzer has already created a new position of deputy health commissioner in charge of health insurance programs, and appointed Debra Bachrach to it.
Dr. Daines, who has a reputation as an able, low-key administrator, joined St. Luke’s-Roosevelt in 2000 as medical director, and became president and chief executive in 2002. Before that, he worked for a dozen years at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, as medical director and later as senior vice president.

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