Chutes & Ladders—UPMC names next president, CEO; Dignity Health appoints COO for 2 hospitals

Welcome to this week’s Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please submit the good news—or the bad—from your shop, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.


Leslie Davis

Leslie Davis is set to take on the president and CEO titles at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), succeeding the system’s longtime leader Jeffrey Romoff.

Davis comes to the role with more than three decades of healthcare experience under her belt, having most recently guided the provider side of the nonprofit as president of its 40-hospital health services division. She also served as the division’s chief operating officer for three years and as the president of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital from 2004 to 2018.

Prior to UPMC, Davis got her start at Mt. Sinai Medical Center before fielding a bevy of leadership positions at Thomas Jefferson University, Presbyterian Medical Center, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Tenet’s Graduate Hospital.

Davis will step into her new roles on Aug. 1.

Jeffrey Romoff

Romoff will stick around as president emeritus until Oct. 1 to gradually hand off responsibilities and serve as a resource to Davis.

Romoff’s healthcare career spanned over 50 years, including 48 of which he spent at the University of Pittsburgh and, eventually, UPMC.

He stepped up to the role of president in 1992 and added the CEO title to his collection in 2006. During that time, UPMC has grown from an academic medical center to a $23 billion integrated healthcare system and the largest non-government employer in Pennsylvania. The system has also expanded internationally under his watch to China, Italy, Ireland and Kazakhstan.

Dignity Health

Tiffany Caster
(Dignity Health)

Tiffany Caster stepped into the chief operating officer role for two Dignity Health hospitals, Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, on July 12.

She hails from Sutter Valley Hospitals, where she most recently held an assistant administrator position at the Sutter Health affiliate. She also spent time in operational leadership roles at its Sutter Lakeport and Sutter Roseville locations.

At Dignity, Caster will be in charge of each hospital’s ancillary, support departments, service lines and clinics in addition to overseeing radiation oncology at Saint Francis. She’ll also be tasked with managing M.D. contracts and head up other process improvement efforts.

Prospero Health

Bill Kayser
(Prospero Health)

Bill Kayser is the new chief financial officer for Prospero Health, a home medical care provider active across 26 states.

Kayser comes directly from McKesson Corporation, where he was the vice president of mergers and acquisitions, corporate strategy and business development.

He also spent eight years as a healthcare industry investment banker at Goldman Sachs, and Harris Williams and served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.

Robert Machen
(Prospero Health)

Also joining the company is Robert Machen, who will be stepping into the chief information officer role.

He spent over a decade as the chief operating officer of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he worked to modernize and scale the center’s technology amidst global expansion.

Prior to that, Machen was an executive at Hilton Hotels Corporation, where he took the reins of its technology strategy, operations and R&D.

> Elation Health, a technology vendor for independent primary practices, has named Pratik Savai as chief technology officer, Sara Pastoor, M.D., as director of primary care advancement and Jenifer Ho as vice president of marketing.

> Caravan Health, a company aiding organized ACOs, appointed Fred Wallisch, M.D., as medical director of its ACO programs.

> Albany Med’s executive vice president and hospital general director, Ferdinand J. Venditti, M.D., will be retiring in February 2022.

> Jefferson Health – Abington has tapped Stacey-Ann Okoth as its senior vice president and chief nursing officer.

> Commure, a care delivery software developer, has picked up UnitedHealthcare vet Saurabha Bhatnagar, M.D., as its new chief health officer.

> Gunnison Valley Hospital has reportedly named Brenda Bartholomew as its next CEO.

> SonderMind, a therapist-patient matching platform, has added Molly Bonakdarpour to its board.

> MacroHealth, a healthcare payment platform for payers and providers, has brought former Cerner executive Michael Nill onto its board.

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