Gerald Katz

Chestnut Hill Hospital has announced the appointment of Gerald Katz, of Chestnut Hill, as chairman of its board of trustees.

Katz, who brings five decades of experience in the health care field to the chairmanship,

has served in an administrative capacity at numerous hospitals in New York and Philadelphia. He has worked on projects for more than 400 hospitals around the country and was involved with the business and strategic planning of 15 hospital mergers.

Katz, 73, joined the Chestnut Hill Hospital board in 2010 after volunteering with the Green Tree Community Health Foundation, which was created in 2005 as a result of the hospital’s purchase by a for-profit hospital corporation. The foundation nominates one member of the hospital board.

“I was interested because it’s my community hospital,” said the 25-year resident of Chestnut Hill.

As chair, he succeeds Vicki D. Lachman, who is moving from the area.

“Vicki has been a very proactive board chair,” Mr. Katz said. “As a nurse by background, she brought good sense and clinical acumen to the board. She solidified the board’s role in preserving high-quality care and patient safety.”

He said he was impressed by the hospital’s recent achievements and was optimistic about its future both as a vibrant community hospital and a teaching hospital affiliated with three major academic medical centers.

“Since 2006, there’s been an amazing turnaround,” he said. “And, it culminated with the opening of the new wing that houses an expanded ER, state-of-the-art ORs and intensive care unit. My interest is in seeing Chestnut Hill Hospital become a really great place. My focus, on the board and as chair, is to be sure the hospital is providing high-level, quality care with good, solid feedback from patients and physicians who practice here.”

“The fact that this community hospital decided to become a teaching hospital is a very positive thing for the community,” he added. “And it’s to their credit that they’ve maintained it as a university-affiliated teaching hospital.”

Chestnut Hill Hospital is part of the University of Pennsylvania Community Health Network. For heart, cancer and stroke care, the hospital has affiliations with Penn, Temple and Jefferson health systems.

In the near future, Katz foresees the level of competition for patients increasing “very intensely” among all hospitals. But he he said he was upbeat about Chestnut Hill Hospital’s ability to continue building relationships with university-based hospitals that help Chestnut Hill meet its goals, including “continuing to recruit outstanding physicians.”

More than 300 board-certified physicians comprise the hospital’s medical staff in specialties that include minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery, cardiology, gynecology, oncology and orthopedics.

Another item on the board’s agenda for the future, he added, is “getting the message out about the quality of care CHH provides, right here in our community, close to home.”

“We have one of the top performing hospitals in the region, in our neighborhood,” he said. “We have a new highly trained CEO, Dr. John Cacciamani, who’s full of energy, and we’re working with a great new management team.”

Katz first became interested in health care delivery as a Rutgers University undergraduate. To pay tuition, he worked as a weekend cashier at a New Brunswick, N.J., hospital for two years. After graduating from Rutgers, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health.

His early career in health care management took him to Saskatchewan, just as Canada was rolling out its national health system. During his military service in the 1960s, Katz worked with the US Public Health Service on Medicare and Medicaid issues. He later worked with Beth Israel Hospital in New York City on interpreting Medicare regulations and with Long Island Jewish Medical Center as deputy director.

He held direct management positions at three Philadelphia hospitals – president of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, administrator of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and administrator of Albert Einstein Medical Center.

In 1991 he founded the Katz Consulting Group, which merged in 2006 with Kurt Salmon Associates, an international consulting company. He also was principal-in-charge of KPMG Peat Marwick’s Philadelphia Office of Health Care Consulting Practice and of the firm’s northeast region’s strategic planning practice.

A New Jersey native, Katz has lived in Philadelphia since 1971 – the last quarter century in Chestnut Hill, which he calls a unique community. His wife Ellen Magen, a Philadelphia native, is an interior designer. He has three children and four grandchildren.