Amidst a shakeup following the death of a 47-year-old grandmother, two new executives have been added to Coney Island Hospital.
New York City Health and Hospitals, the agency in charge of the embattled facility, announced it has instated Anthony Rajkumar as the hospital’s new CEO. Mei Kong is being brought on as Chief Operating Officer (COO).
The new officers arrive as other top officials at the hospital are moving out. The New York Post reported this week that three other executives are taking off, either to another job or retiring. Four of the hospital’s high level officers have already left.
Coney Island hospital came under intense scrutiny, from the press and health officials, after Grisel Soto, a grandmother from Sea Gate, died when staff botched her diagnosis. The state Health Department hit Coney Island Hospital with six violations after opening an investigation into the death.
However, New York Health and Hospitals has pushed back forcefully against allegations in the press, particularly from the New York Post, that the leadership changes are related to Soto’s death or that Coney Island Hospital is unsafe.
New York Health and Hospitals says the new appointments are due to a system-wide restructuring.
“Any high-performing organization refreshes itself every two to three years and that’s what we’re trying to do,” New York Health and Hospitals President and CEO Dr. Ram Raju said in a statement. “I want patient experience to be the centerpiece of this organization and we are selecting people who will focus on that particular aspect. If the patients are not engaged, the outcomes are not good.”
Rajkumar, Coney Island Hospital’s new CEO, has been with New York Health and Hospitals for more than 25 years, according to a press release. In a statement included in the press release, he said he was proud to join the team at Coney Island Hospital, noting the staff’s dedication in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
“I know first-hand of their dedication to the community when I pitched in the morning after Superstorm Sandy. They were there in three feet of water, providing a calming presence and protecting the safety of our patients. And they continue to do that every day,” he said.
Kong, a Registered Nurse who has held top positions directing patient safety and employee safety for New York Health and Hospitals for 14 years.