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St. John’s Episcopal Hospital Hires New Chief Executive Officer

After conducting a nationwide executive search led by healthcare leadership solutions firm B. E. Smith, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, N.Y., has hired Gerard (Jerry) Walsh as Chief Executive Officer. Walsh assumed his new duties on July 27.

With more than 25 years of healthcare leadership experience, Walsh is an expert in organizational change, physician development, implementation of quality and patient safety programs, mergers and acquisitions, and a strong knowledge of community hospitals. His proven success in developing strong medical staff relationships through recruitment of talented physicians and the creation of new programs and services that drive margin growth will enable St. John’s to expand high quality healthcare services within the Rockaways and surrounding communities.

Most recently in the position of CEO of Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown, Maryland, during his tenure Walsh built a new leadership team including a new chief medical officer and chief nursing officer, implemented several clinical services for the chronic care population including podiatry, dental, gynecology, ophthalmology and wound care, developed a plan of correction that rectified numerous Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services deficiencies, and delivered a 3-year strategic plan recommending a forward course of action.

Prior to his leadership role at Western Maryland, Mr. Walsh spent 15 years as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Shore Regional Health, a three-hospital health system affiliated with University of Maryland Medical System. In this position, he was first charged to lead the regionalization plan for the Mid Shore, which integrated Chester River Health System into Shore Health System to form a new company - Shore Regional Health. Further, with overall system responsibility for net revenues of $320M, Quality and Process Improvement, Patient Safety, Joint Commission Accreditation and Shore Medical Group (a multi-specialty physician network and hospitalist program), he oversaw 231 acute licensed beds, a 20-bed Acute Rehab Center, Home Health and Hospice, 2625 employees and 415 active physicians, and built multi-million dollar programs including a 50-physician multi-specialty group practice.

Walsh also has significant administrative experience from his COO role with North Shore University Hospital at Forest Hills, New York, where he oversaw a 19,000 sq. ft. emergency department reconstruction project, initiated a $30M facility construction project, worked with architects and engineers to plan construction for a new two story radiology building, and instituted an extensive twelve month management education and professional development project. He also developed outpatient practice units for Pain Management, Men’s Health, and Pediatric Cardiology, developed an ongoing service excellence program to improve customer satisfaction, and oversaw medical staff growth to include an additional 300 new physicians.

“St. John’s was looking for a growth leader with experience increasing market share and improving performance,” said Lydia Ostermeier, Vice President of Senior Executive Search for B. E. Smith, the healthcare executive search firm who conducted the nationwide CEO search for St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. “Jerry’s ability to create a culture of organizational improvement and accountability made him the perfect choice for this position.”

Mr. Walsh is “both honored and extremely excited to lead St. John's Episcopal Hospital into the future. I have been anticipating entering my new role and look forward to the many opportunities and challenges ahead. My first priority will be getting to know the employees, hospital and community leaders and the medical staff so that we may work together to provide an excellent patient and family experience at St. John's." A native New Yorker, Walsh was born and raised in Queens and attended school in East Elmhurst. He has a Bachelors of Science in Health Care Administration from St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York, and a Masters Degree in Health Systems Management from Iona College, New Rochelle, New York.

"We are incredibly enthusiastic about Jerry's experience and welcome his leadership to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and to the communities we serve," said Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano, the Episcopal Bishop of Long Island and President of the Board of Trustees of Episcopal Health Services Inc. "In his new role as Chief Executive Officer, Jerry will be responsible for developing and delivering against the hospital’s strategic plan, for Board guidance, improving margins, and returning the Hospital to reputable profitable growth, thereby creating a pathway to strong sustainability while elevating the level of care we provide to our patients, families and area communities. His results-oriented approach and ability to think strategically will play a pivotal role in extending our track record of providing quality healthcare, close to home, for the residents of our service area who value being cared for in a medical setting that knows them and welcomes them.”

About St. John’s Episcopal Hospital:
St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is a community hospital serving the South Shore of Long Island and Queens, New York. It offers comprehensive medical surgical care including obstetrics/gynecology and psychiatric care, as well as ambulatory primary and specialty care. Post-graduate training programs are offered in allopathic and osteopathic programs. It is a New York State designated stroke center. St. John’s is an entity of Episcopal Health Services Inc. For more information, visit

About B. E. Smith:
Founded in 1978, B. E. Smith is a full-service healthcare executive search firm and one of the top-ranked providers of senior-level leadership services including Interim Leadership, Executive Search and Advisory Services. Veteran healthcare recruiters and regional healthcare experts partner with each client to create customized solutions. B. E. Smith’s proven methodology has resulted in the recent placement of more than 1,000 leaders into healthcare organizations worldwide. The firm utilizes a comprehensive sourcing strategy incorporating the latest marketing techniques, association partnerships, social networking and one of the largest databases of skilled senior-level healthcare executives in the industry to deliver immediate results in today’s complex healthcare environment. For more information, visit or call 855-254-8261.

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