After 45 years, CarePlus NJ leader to retire

Dawn Furnas//November 29, 2022

After 45 years, CarePlus NJ leader to retire

Dawn Furnas//November 29, 2022

Joe Masciandaro, founder, president and CEO of CarePlus NJ since 1978, will retire from the organization.

CarePlus NJ founder Joe Masciandaro, who has served as president and CEO of the Paramus-based health care organization since 1978, is retiring, the company announced Nov. 29.  

Brigitte Johnson will serve as the new president and CEO, effective Jan. 2, 2023. 

An integrated primary and behavioral health service for adults and children, CarePlus NJ provides more than 72 programs that address primary care, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and access to social support services. 

During his tenure, Masciandaro – a 2020 NJBIZ ICON – helped CarePlus achieve several industry designations, most recently as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic. He also was instrumental in the creation of Care Plus Bergen, the management entity of Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. 

“For 45 years, Joe has been a tireless mental health advocate, a political force and an exceptional leader. The values he instilled when founding CarePlus NJ in 1978 will continue to guide the organization for decades to come,” Jeremy Piccini, chair of the board of trustees, said in a statement.  

Brigitte Johnson will serve as the new president and CEO of CarePlus NJ, effective Jan. 2, 2023.

After a national search, the organization selected Johnson to succeed Masciandaro. She joined CarePlus as director in 1998 and has since served as vice president, senior vice president and executive senior vice president of corporate affairs, her current role. 

Johnson’s responsibilities have included financial, budgetary, employee relations, expansion, development and compliance. As in-house counsel, she also manages all legal affairs for the company, including overseeing the three nonprofit subsidiary corporate entities of CarePlus NJ.  

In 2017, Johnson served as lead counsel in the formation of the separate 501(c)(3), Care Plus Bergen, for its bid and contract negotiation to manage the former Bergen Regional Medical Center, now known as Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. 

Additionally, she is executive director of Care Plus Workforce Solutions Inc., a nonprofit subsidiary of CarePlus NJ that provides employment and training opportunities for the disabled and economically disadvantaged. An organization she has grown from an annual gross revenue of $15,000 to $6 million, according to CarePlus.

“Throughout her tenure with our organization, Brigitte has distinguished herself as a leader excelling in a variety of roles and demonstrated her relentless passion and ability to provide strategic counsel in complex situations,” Masciandaro said. “With her guidance we have been able to enhance and expand our delivery of mental health and addiction treatment services and emerge from the pandemic even stronger.” 

A graduate of Howard University School of Law and Virginia State University, Johnson serves on the boards of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing as chair of its nominating committee. She also serves on the boards of the New Jersey Mental Health Institute, Executive Committee of ACCSES-NJ and the Board of Bergen County Workforce Investment. 

Johnson, who called Masciandaro “a mentor,” said the appointment was “an honor and a privilege.” 

“Throughout my longstanding career at CarePlus NJ, I’ve been deeply committed to our organization’s mission and look forward to continuing to build upon it and positively impact the lives of the individuals we serve in our communities,” she added.