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New CEO to Lead Saint Clare's Health System


Leslie D. Hirsch, a former New Jersey healthcare executive who led a New Orleans healthcare system through recovery from Hurricane Katrina, will become the new president and chief executive officer of Saint Clare’s Health System.
Hirsch’s appointment will become effective on April 1, 2008, when Saint Clare’s joins Catholic Health Initiatives, the national nonprofit health system that has managed Saint Clare’s in recent months. Hirsch, 55, will assume his new post at Saint Clare’s in May 2008.

“The Saint Clare’s CEO search committee has made an outstanding choice in its advisory role and recommendation of Les Hirsch. He has a proven track record of leading major urban health care centers with great success, overcoming significant challenges and strengthening their ability to continue their mission. With his previous experience in Catholic health care and his in-depth knowledge of this region, Les is well qualified to lead Saint Clare’s and we look forward to welcoming him to our organization,” said Gary Campbell, senior vice president and group executive officer with Catholic Health Initiatives.  

Hirsch has been president and CEO of Touro Infirmary in New Orleans since 2005. Touro Infirmary is an inner-city major teaching medical center with more than 500 licensed beds and 2,000 employees. He joined the health system one week before Hurricane Katrina, and he led the evacuation of more than 200 patients. Twenty-seven days later, Hirsch led the reopening of Touro, the first hospital in New Orleans to reopen, and restored operations to near full capacity within one year.

A New Jersey native, Hirsch said he is honored to have been chosen for his new leadership role and excited to return to his home state. “Saint Clare’s Health System has tremendous potential to grow and find new ways to improve the health of the people and communities of northwest New Jersey. I look forward to joining the Catholic Health Initiatives team and working with the employees, medical staff and community leaders to advance Saint Clare’s mission,” Hirsch said.    

During his 30-year healthcare career, Hirsch served as president and CEO of Exempla St. Joseph Hospital, a 565-bed teaching hospital in Denver, Colo., from 2002-2005; and as president and CEO of Cooper Health System in Camden, N.J., one of the largest healthcare providers in the Delaware Valley, from 1999-2002. Prior to that, Hirsch was executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Cooper system from 1988-1999. Earlier in his career, he held positions with Bellevue Hospital Center, New York, N.Y., and Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, N.J.

Hirsch holds a master’s degree in public health from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford, N.J. and a bachelor’s degree in political science from William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Hirsch and his wife, Carol, have two daughters.

Catholic Health Initiatives is a national non-profit health corporation based in Denver, Colorado.  The CHI system includes 72 hospitals; 42 long-term care, assisted and independent living and residential facilities; and two community-based health organizations located in 19 states. Together, our facilities provided almost $480 million in community benefit in the 2007 fiscal year, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. With approximately 65,000 employees and annual revenues of $7.7 billion, Catholic Health Initiatives ranks as the second largest Catholic health system in the United States.

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