Dr. Richard Becker moves to private equity firm; Hospital says new CEO will continue ER expansion
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dr. Richard Becker, president and CEO of The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC), is leaving his job to become the CEO of New Found Health, a hospital and healthcare company affiliated with private equity firm Blue Wolf Capital Partners.
TBHC and Blue Wolf were partners in a controversial bid to develop the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) site in Cobble Hill. That bid was won by Fortis Property Group after almost two years of lawsuits and protests. (LICH is now closed.)
Blue Wolf joined with TBHC in a joint venture to build urgent-care centers in the city, a rare foray into the New York healthcare space by private equity.
TBHC’s board of trustees said on Friday it will begin a national search for Dr. Becker’s replacement.
“While Dr. Becker’s vision and leadership will certainly prove challenging to replace, we are excited to find the next CEO of our hospital that has become known for its innovation, quality of care, and unrivaled commitment to Brooklyn,” Carlos Naudon, chairman of TBHC’s board, said in a statement.
“I am forever grateful for the privilege of working with the fine physicians, staff and board members of The Brooklyn Hospital Center,” said Dr. Becker. “Together we have succeeded in ensuring access to high quality healthcare for the residents of Brooklyn.”
Under Becker’s leadership, TBHC, with 464 beds, affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital.
Becker, who ran the Fort Greene facility for roughly seven years, had campaigned to double the size of the emergency department at TBHC. With the closure of LICH, delays at ERs across Brooklyn and long waits for admission have become the norm.
TBHC’s emergency department expansion plans received contingent approval from the state Department of Health (DOH) in 2010. The work was estimated at that time to cost $5,310,850, and the hospital raised almost $3 million towards this goal during its annual fundraisers in 2013 and 2014.
In October 2014, however, TBHC withdrew the expansion plans, according to a DOH data base.
Addressing speculation that TBHC was dropping the plan to expand its emergency department, hospital spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday that the paperwork filed with DOH was "simply out of date."
"A new application is being filed with the state and the plans for the ED are moving forward as scheduled," spokesperson Eric Phillips said on Tuesday. The renovation "will be a core responsibility of the incoming hospital CEO."
"The ED has seen a slight increase in volume since LICH’s closure, but we’ve got the space to accommodate the increase," he added.
Updated Jan. 20 with information about TBHC's plans to renovate its ED.