Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center reached out to a longtime insurance industry leader to become its new CEO, calling it “a new stage of evolution for the Secaucus-based community hospital and medical center.”
Thomas B. Considine, the former state insurance commissioner and current COO of MagnaCare, will take over as CEO on May 1.
Acting CEO Lynn McVey was named chief operating officer.
Dr. Richard Lipsky, chairman of the Meadlowlands board, said Considine's background was a key to the announcement.
"Tom's reputation as a direct and straightforward change agent for corporate culture and operations demonstrates Meadowlands' commitment to fully engage, in a transparent way, in the public discourse that is the health care marketplace in 2014," Lipsky said. "The entire hospital board puts its full faith and trust in Tom to further transform the hospital."
It's the second time in two months that the hospital has reached out to someone from the state insurance office. In March, Meadowlands named assistant state insurance commissioner Neil Sullivan as chief counsel.
Meadowlands, a for-profit hospital, has come under fire in recent years.
It clashed with its nurses' union, in part over staffing issues. And it was named the most expensive hospital in the country in a disputed finding in January. Last fall, however, MHMC was recognized with an "A" grade for patient safety by The Leapfrog Group, the country's leading watchdog for patient safety and health care quality.
Jeanne Otersen is spokeswoman for the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union, which represents nurses and other medical professionals at Meadowlands. In 2011, the union unsuccessfully appealed to the state Department of Health to require a patient care monitor at Meadowlands.
Otersen said new executive leadership at Meadowlands is not enough. “If Tom Considine is serious he will sit down with the union and he will restore the rights (of employees) so that the nurses and the healthcare workers can get back to the focus on patient care instead of constantly looking over their shoulders. We will wait to see if the new management reaches out to the union.”
Considine said addressing issues of quality and transparency will be a top priority.
"The hospital has made great strides from the failing health care facility that current ownership inherited in late 2010, but today's health care environment demands a higher level of operational clarity, regardless of profit or not-for-profit status," he said. "Part of my focus from the start will be to bring a higher level of transparency to the hospital, which, in turn, will help to grow the faith of our patients, the community and the industry in our ability to deliver on our health care mission."
Meadowlands said Considine, Sullivan and McVey will "comprise a new team of health care experts intent on building on achievements and enhancing the hospital's level of transparency with the community, regulators and state government."
Considine's former boss, MagnaCare CEO Joseph Berardo, Jr., said the hospital made a terrific choice.
"Meadowlands Hospital has found itself the perfect chief executive in the form of Tom Considine," Berardo said. "He contributed enormously to MagnaCare's success during his two years here as our COO. We understand his wish to add a CEO position to his accomplished resume, and I am certain he will do so with skill and enthusiasm. Our entire corporate family wishes him continued success."
Meadowlands said Considine will assume overall responsibility for the operation of the 230-bed hospital and will be accountable for the direction and coordination of all aspects of the facility.
Considine will sit on the hospital board, and his responsibilities will include physician relations, as well as oversight of budgeting, staffing and contracting. He will guide the development and implementation of goals and objectives, quality assurance, regulatory compliance and facility operations.
While insurance commissioner, Considine repealed 21 regulations that were burdensome for businesses. Prior to joining department, he spent 17 years at MetLife.