N.J. health commissioner to become hospital association CEO

The state’s health commissioner is going to be the new CEO and president of the New Jersey Hospital Association, according to a board of trustees announcement Tuesday.

Cathleen Bennett, who has served as the commissioner of the Department of Health in Gov. Chris Christie’s administration since 2015, will take over for Betsy Ryan, who has been at the helm of NJHA since 2008.

Bennett will take over Nov. 9, becoming the sixth CEO and president of the organization.

The NJHA board chair, and chief operating officer of Hackensack Meridian Health, Steven Littleson, said: “We are fortunate to have found the right person for this key role, right down Route 1 in the heart of New Jersey. Cathy Bennett knows health care, she knows the Garden State and she understands what a pivotal time this is for our industry. Most importantly, she is committed to a healthier New Jersey, and that’s a goal we all share.”

Bennett has overseen the state department’s $1.6 billion budget and a staff of 1,200.

“As commissioner, I’ve worked with NJHA and its members as valued stakeholders in improving the quality of health care for all New Jersey residents,” she said. “I’m very excited to work with them now as colleagues and co-workers.”

Ryan will remain with NJHA until Oct. 31 to ensure a smooth transition.

No announcement had been made as to Bennett’s replacement with the Department of Health as of Tuesday afternoon.