Mayor Bill de Blasio has nominated Los Angeles County Health Agency director Mitchell Katz as president and chief executive of New York City Health + Hospitals, the city’s public healthcare system and the nation’s largest.

The H+H board of directors must confirm the appointment, according to a de Blasio statement Monday.

“As a highly experienced public health executive and practicing physician, Dr. Katz is well poised to further the city’s plan to stabilize hospital finances and expand access to high-quality, community-based healthcare,” de Blasio said.

Katz’s current agency is a nascent organization that combines the departments of Health Services, Public Health, and Mental Health into a single entity with a goal of more integrated care and programming within Los Angeles.

NYC Health + Hospitals, with a $7.2 billion budget, serves more than 1 million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the five boroughs. The mayor said that under a transformation plan he began in April 2016, the system exceeded its $770 million gap-closing plan for fiscal 2017 by $120 million in revenues and savings.

De Blasio's plan to turn around the system, whose deficit had been pegged to reach $1.8 billion by fiscal 2020, called for a mix of expense savings and new revenue.

Health + Hospitals includes 11 acute care hospitals, six Gotham Health neighborhood health centers, five skilled nursing facilities, and more than 60 community and school-based health centers.

Katz succeeds Ram Raju as permanent chief executive. Stanley Brezenoff, who was president and CEO of the predecessor Health & Hospitals Corp. during the 1980s., was interim chief since Raju resigned last November to join Northwell Health, New York State’s largest provider.

“With renewed attacks on our healthcare by Republicans in Washington, it is now more important than ever to put stable leadership in place as we make progress on our plan to expand access to quality, community-based care throughout the city,” said de Blasio.

Brezenoff, speaking before the City Council earlier this year, warned of challenges that include the uncertainty in Washington as Congress debates replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“The stark reality is that we are facing a fiscal cliff,” he said.

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Paul Burton

Paul Burton

Paul Burton is the Northeast Regional Editor for The Bond Buyer and the author of the book "Tales from the Newsrooms." He is a sought-after public speaker and has appeared on radio and TV shows, including former CBS News White House correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s public-affairs program, “Full Measure.”