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Health Care Power 50 A-M

Joseph Barone

Barone is a professor and dean of the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers. He served as chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration for 24 years, before taking on the role of acting dean in October 2011, and was appointed the ninth dean of the school in September 2013. Barone also serves on the state Health Planning Board and formerly chaired the executive committee of the New Jersey Medical Emergency Disaster Prevention and Response Expert Panel. In 1984, he founded the Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship Program which has graduated more than 900 post-doctoral fellows.

Cathleen Bennett

Bennett took over as chief executive officer of the New Jersey Hospital Association in November 2017. The NJHA provides leadership on quality and patient safety, education and advocacy in both Washington, D.C. and in Trenton. Bennett also oversees the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey, a not-for-profit affiliate that promotes continuing education, patient safety, quality improvement and research; and the for-profit Healthcare Business Solutions, which provides group purchasing and other business solutions for health care providers. Before joining the NJHA, Bennett served as New Jersey’s 20th Health Commissioner, beginning Aug. 3, 2015. She knows the hospital business inside and out – a strong resumé at a critical time for the sector.

Jeff Brown

It’s no secret that the state Health Department’s medical marijuana program (MMP) has expanded rapidly over the past year. Under Jeff Brown’s direction, it’s in the process of doubling the number of dispensaries from six to 12, and by June 30, the program will have nearly tripled the number of patients in its care. There’s nothing Brown’s influence doesn’t touch in the program — from the number of alternative treatment centers to the selection method for the new ones. Brown has implemented every related regulatory change that Gov. Phil Murphy called for in March 2018, to expand access, he issued licenses for six new ATCs. To make it more physician friendly, doctors no longer have to list on a public website, which likely accounts for some of 40-percent growth in MMP physicians in the last year. New products have been introduced, provisional caregiver status was introduced, and mobile access now allows MMP patients, caregivers and physicians to upload documents and make payments right from their phone. Soon, revised rules of the program will be finalized, as Brown and other program personnel review public comments.

Diane Calello

As the executive director and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Calello educates citizens about toxic substances that are found in many homes. “I like to focus my prevention [efforts] on the most common dangerous sources of poisonings,” Calello said. “Prescription opioids are not written for a three-year-old. One opioid pill ingested by a two-year-old can kill a child. We talk about safe storage of opioids. We explain that our advice is not punitive. We will not send the police but we will send an ambulance. Acetaminophen is the most common form of poisonings. It is on my radar every day.” The center is New Jersey’s primary defense against injury and deaths from poisoning, with trained experts who answer telephones 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of poisoning for the general public and health care professionals across the state. “We handle about 50,000 cases per year,” Calello noted. “The call is free, we are always here. It is literally a very easy process. There is not a phone tree. You will get a person on the phone. We provide reassurance and will call back to make sure you are feeling okay. This is the only place in health care where you can call and get health care advice without a copayment.”

Marlene Caride

As the top state official overseeing the agency to which any health insurance company doing business in the state has to answer, Caride wields a lot of clout. She was a veteran lawmaker representing urban areas of southern Bergen County, and during her tenure in the state Legislature, she sat on the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. Any health carrier hoping to get a license to do business in New Jersey, offer new insurance products or change the rates policy holders have to pay needs to get a proposal past the Department of Banking and Insurance. With the agency acting as a watchdog for the state’s massive health insurance market, Caride has earned a spot as one of the state’s health care power players.

Herb Conaway

As chair of the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee, Conaway exercises considerable influence over the state’s health care industry, along with his counterpart in the upper house: Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Chairman Joe Vitale. The Burlington County Democrat has, along with Vitale, put his name behind a controversial measure removing religious exemptions for vaccinations, at a time when the anti-vaccination movement has drawn scrutiny and blame for outbreaks of measles and other diseases nationwide. Conaway is also the sponsor of legislation requiring schools to screen students in grades 7 through 12 for depression, at a time when public health officials are examining the role of mental health in physical well-being. As a practicing physician and head of the Burlington County public health department, Conaway brings first-hand insight into how health care policies — from both the Legislature and the Department of Health — will affect the delivery care throughout the state.

Michellene Davis

Davis, chief corporate affairs officer at RWJBarnabas Health and a prominent voice for the sprawling hospital system, served as chief policy counsel to former Gov. Jon Corzine and has used that experience to work with elected officials to advance health care issues affecting the state. The first woman and person of color to serve as an executive vice president at the former Saint Barnabas Health Care System, Davis has led a social-determinants program for RWJBarnabas, in which she worked with community leaders to enhance the social conditions of neighborhoods around the state to improve the health of its citizens. This year, her work earned recognition from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which gave her a 2019 Award of Excellence for New Jersey.

Joseph Devine

The Jefferson Health system is in the midst of major expansion and construction projects. These enhancements to the southern New Jersey system are a source of pride for Devine, New Jersey president and chief experience officer. Devine is the longtime leader of what until the fall 2017 was Kennedy Health. He is an officer of the Corporation of Kennedy Health and an ex-officio of the Kennedy University Hospital Board of Trustees. He was recently named chair of the board of the New Jersey Hospital Association. Devine is also chair of the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and serves as executive club chairman for the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce. Under his leadership, Jefferson Health – New Jersey has been named a “Top Workplace” by five times (2014 – 2018). More sources of pride for an obviously talented leader.

Lawrence Downs

Downs serves as chief executive officer of the Medical Society of New Jersey, the largest organization of physicians in the state. He is responsible for health policy initiatives, legislative and regulatory affairs, health care quality improvement and public health matters on behalf of the organization and its physician members. In addition to his role as CEO, he also serves as the executive director of the Institute of Medicine & Public Health of New Jersey. Before accepting the position of CEO, he served as general counsel to MSNJ from 2006-2011. Among his most recent accomplishments, he secured $500,000 in grant funding to help physicians connect to the health information exchange through OneHealth New Jersey, and he guided MSNJ’s response to the Aid in Dying legislation in New Jersey from a physician perspective. Downs has extensive experience in health policy, public opinion research and media advocacy. He previously served as director of Cancer Prevention and Control at the American Cancer Society’s New Jersey Division, where he coordinated public education campaigns on the prevention and early detection of cancer.

John Fanburg

Fanburg has more than 30 years of experience in health and hospital law, with an emphasis on corporate, transactional, and regulatory matters for physicians and health care institutions. A recognized leader in health law at Brach Eichler in Roseland, Fanburg is known for excellence in transactions, perseverance in deal-making, and strength in corporate and regulatory matters. His broad experience representing major hospitals, diverse medical groups, and statewide physician specialty organizations provides him with in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the business practice of health care. He helps health care providers position themselves to deal with the constantly evolving medical marketplace, particularly health care reform. This work includes advising clients about mergers and acquisitions, various business ventures, and creative health care business arrangements. Fanburg provides counsel on strategic alliances and transactions relating to ACOs and medical homes. He also offers guidance on regulatory compliance, corporate compliance, HIPAA, litigation, and government investigations.

Susan Feeney

A partner at Newark’s McCarter & English, Feeney represents hospitals and health care facilities statewide in property tax disputes—helping hospitals remain viable, in part, based on their tax exempt status and how much they shell out to the municipalities in which they are located. She routinely litigates property tax appeals, and she represented Hunterdon Medical Center before the state Supreme Court in a case against the Township of Readington, securing a holding that under New Jersey’s property tax exemption statute, any medical or diagnostic service a hospital patient may require constitutes a core “hospital purpose” and that when an off-site facility provides those services, tax exemption requires an evaluation of the degree to which its activities are integrated with a hospital and supervised by hospital personnel. As if that wouldn’t keep her busy enough, she’s also president of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation and a former president of the New Jersey State Bar Association—one of only a handful of lawyers who have led both organizations.

Warren Geller

Under Geller’s leadership as president and CEO, Englewood Hospital has transformed from a community hospital into a leading tertiary health system at the forefront of high-quality care. Since Geller joined Englewood Health in 2009, patient volume and acuity, financial performance, and quality and safety outcomes have all improved, resulting in the designation as a Top Hospital for patient safety by the Leapfrog Group in 2014 and 2015, an honor received by fewer than 100 hospitals in the nation. Geller has fostered positive community relations, modernized the hospital’s campus, facilities and technology infrastructure, strengthened key clinical programs; expanded outpatient services, and developed an integrated physician network. Over his career, he has been recognized for building sophisticated clinical services with leading-edge technology, achieving financial stability, and providing community outreach to improve the quality of life for residents of the communities he has served.

Tomas Gregorio

As senior executive director for NJII, an NJIT corporation, Gregorio has overall responsibility for the success and operation of innovative programs helping the government and health care industry tackle the day-to-day problems faced by physicians, health systems and payers. New Jersey Innovation Institute Healthcare collaborates with external organizations to disrupt the industry with innovation taking place at NJII and around the country. Gregorio’s health care division has developed expertise in creating commercialized health care products and services after execution of federal- and state-funded experiments and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) models. Gregorio brings a rich and diverse background to the job having served in various roles as a senior hospital executive and CEO, consultant with a big four firm and population health software executive for over 25 years.

John Gribbin

Gribbin is the president and CEO CentraState Healthcare System. Before joining CentraState in 2000, he was a founding member and served as executive vice president of Meridian Health System, and previously worked as president of The Medical Center of Ocean County. His extensive career in health care administration spans more than 30 years. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in 1974 and Rider University with an MBA in Finance in 1979.

Debbie Hart

Hart is the founding president and CEO of BioNJ, a network of 400 research-based life sciences companies dedicated to driving the innovation ecosystem in New Jersey to improve and save lives and lower the hurdles of health care advancements for society. Hart established BioNJ in 1994 and worked alongside New Jersey’s biotechnology industry leaders enhance the climate for life sciences in New Jersey. She was recently appointed to the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology and serves as chair of the bipartisan New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force. She is also a founding board member and officer of OpportunityNJ, a nonprofit organization working toward a strong and sustainable state economy; is on the board of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the board of directors for Choose New Jersey. Hart was named to the advisory boards of the New Jersey Innovation Institute and the Institute for Life Sciences Entrepreneurship at Kean University and serves as a member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Technology Advisory Board.

Les Hirsch

Hirsch, a 35-year veteran of the health care industry, was appointed in March 2017 as interim CEO and president of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System having initially joined the organization as president in August 2015. Last year was a good one for Saint Peter’s, both financially and clinically. Saint Peter’s cared for 24,000 inpatients, including more than 5,400 newborns and had the highest recorded volume of 72,000 ED visits. Keep in mind the context: Those results came amid consolidation in the hospital industry that left Saint Peter’s as the sole independently operated hospital/health system in Middlesex County.

Gary Horan

Gary Horan is president/CEO of Trinitas Regional Medical Center, with extensive experience in health care leadership at hospitals in New Jersey and New York. Horan took a recently merged, urban, Catholic hospital with a poor payer mix and turned it into a profitable, thriving health care institution with more than 80 locations throughout New Jersey. Before coming to Trinitas he served as the president and CEO of Our Lady of Mercy Healthcare System in the Bronx and he has held senior leadership positions with New York University Medical Center, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center of New York and JFK Medical Center in Edison. Horan is the recipient of the 2019 Edward J. Ill Excellence in Medicine Foundation’s “Outstanding Healthcare Executive” Award. The EJI awards are among the highest honors presented to New Jersey’s medical community.

Robert Johnson

Johnson has guided the Rutgers University New Jersey Medical School since his appointment as dean in 2011. A professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at the New Jersey Medical School, Johnson was previously the school’s interim dean from 2005 to 2011. He is an influential leader in the fields of adolescent physical and mental health, adolescent HIV, adolescent violence, adolescent sexuality and family strengthening. A frequent guest on television and radio programs, Johnson also teaches, conducts research and treats pediatric adolescent patients at the medical school. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves on the advisory committee of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences of the National Research Council’s National Academy of Sciences.

Doug Klinger

Klinger is the CEO of Zelis Healthcare, perhaps the most important health care company you’ve never heard of. That obscurity will be short-lived. The company, which provides cost management and payment solutions to health care payers and providers, has ranked among the fastest-growing enterprises in New Jersey for several years – topping the 2017 NJBIZ Fast 50 list and placing fourth in 2018. Built through a series of acquisitions and backed by Parthenon Capital Partners, Zelis is poised to continue its trajectory.

Scott Kobler

All health care M&A activity in New Jersey goes through Kobler, as does development of hospitals and other health care facilities. A partner at Newark’s McCarter & English, he has been involved in the state’s largest and most complex health care transactions, representing lenders and acute, subacute and specialized lay and faith-based providers.

Jeffrey Le Benger

Le Benger, chair and CEO of Summit Medical Group, is viewed among his peers as a visionary and thought leader in physician group practice management, value-based care and population health management. During his 16 years of leadership, SMG has grown significantly. With more than 800 providers at over 80 locations in New Jersey alone, multiple comprehensive ambulatory care campuses and a world-class cancer center and comprehensive cancer program, SMG handles more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. After devising and refining a highly effective practice management and patient care model at SMG, Le Benger spearheaded the formation of Summit Health Management in 2014 to share SMG’s formula for success via strategic partnerships and customized managed services contracts. SHM is now a national organization and SMG is a national brand, helping to shape the delivery of patient care across the country. In January 2018, Summit Medical Group Oregon and Summit Medical Group Arizona were established, affirming Summit’s unique care model is customizable and nationally relevant.

Steven Libutti

Libutti is the director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and vice chancellor for Cancer Programs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. In addition to his leadership roles within Rutgers, Libutti also serves as senior vice president of oncology services for RWJBarnabas Health, a key contact in the university’s partnership with the health care system. He is also a professor of Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and an affiliated distinguished professor in Genetics at the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences Department of Genetics. Most recently, Libutti served as director for the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care in New York City and was a professor and vice chairman of the Department of Surgery and professor in the Department of Genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System. A surgical oncologist, Libutti is an internationally known expert in endocrine surgery and the management of neuroendocrine tumors.

Paul Marden

In his role as chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare New Jersey, Marden is responsible for all aspects of the company’s commercial health benefits business in the state, including adding and retaining members, establishing market and network strategies, achieving financial targets and acting as a primary interface with key stakeholders. Marden was recently the vice president of sales and account management for UnitedHealthcare’s key account segment which represents employers with more than 100 workers in New York and New Jersey. He is a regular speaker on the topics of health care reform, business leadership and health insurance.

Michael Maron

Independent Catholic hospitals have become scarce in New Jersey, and if current trends hold, Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck could be the final holdout. Maron, Holy Name’s CEO, has been with the hospital for nearly 32 years. Last year he made peace with Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey and dropped out of a lawsuit challenging the insurer’s Omnia classification system. On the medical side, earlier this year Holy Name became the first U.S. facility to offer an advanced immunotherapy treatment for endometrial cancer. The program, a collaboration with Merck, is one of three separate Keytruda clinical trials underway at the hospital.

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