Deborah Heart and Lung CEO Chirichella announces retirement plans

Deborah Heart and Lung Center on Friday said CEO and President Joseph Chirichella will retire. While no specific date was set, Chirichella said he will provide the new CEO and the board with transitional assistance for a period of time, ensuring that Deborah’s new leader will have the benefit of his experience as they see fit.

Chirichella personally announced his retirement via a message to his leadership team and followed with a house-wide message, where he thanked his “family of coworkers” for helping him “extend Deborah’s legacy of clinical excellence and compassion into the next century.”

“As stewards of this 100-year tradition of innovation and caring, we have proudly maintained Deborah’s founding ideal — that there is no price on life,” Chirichella said. “In my 46 years as a member of this team — with 13 of those years as your president — we’ve kept Dora Moness Shapiro’s promise to put patients and their families at the center of every decision. It’s not always been easy, but it’s always been the right choice.”

“Joe is a visionary, a dynamic leader and a friend. His future-forward thinking, fiscal responsibility and dedication to quality care have been stalwarts of his administration,” Barbara George Johnson, chair, Deborah Heart and Lung Center board of trustees, said. “He has always kept in mind the mission of Deborah to serve our patients and community with exceptional heart and lung care. We wish Joe all the best in his retirement and appreciate his many years of service and exemplary leadership.”

During his tenure, Chirichella spearheaded Deborah’s growth by focusing on the development of the campus through partnership in the construction of a Medical Office Building, housing community-based physician services including urgent care, imaging, pharmacy and an ambulatory surgical center, and leading a $108 million expansion of the hospital building to create state-of-the-art critical care patient rooms and a dedicated team member respite space.

Chirichella has also used the power of partnerships to ensure Deborah’s patients have access to the highest quality of care.

Chirichella also supported Deborah’s partnership with Cooper University Health Care and development of the HeroCare Connect program, a first-in-the-nation program that offers health care navigation services to active-duty military personnel, their families and veterans. Through a partnership with Capital Health to provide emergency department services on Deborah’s campus, Chirichella has ensured that this important, and formerly unmet, community need remains filled.

Most recently, Chirichella has partnered with Deborah Specialty Physicians, a private physician practice, to expand access to heart, lung and vascular care in the community. With Deborah’s clinical support, eight offices have opened throughout Atlantic, Burlington, Mercer and Ocean counties, allowing patients access to specialty care close to their homes.

Chirichella closed by saying: “I can’t imagine anything more meaningful than a career spent supporting the provision of high quality care, working alongside colleagues and coworkers who are as deeply committed to this principle. And I can sincerely say that I had that privilege during my tenure at Deborah.”

His term as CEO and president will end when the board completes a nationwide search for his replacement.

The hospital’s board of trustees has engaged Spencer Stuart, one of the world’s leading global executive search and leadership consulting firms, in a search for Deborah’s next CEO and president.