After nearly 15 years at the helm of Catholic Health, Joe McDonald, the health system's longest tenured president & CEO, has announced plans to retire. While an exact timetable has not been set, McDonald plans to remain on to help transition his successor, which is expected during the first quarter of 2018. A committee, made up of representatives of Catholic Health's Corporate Members, Sponsors, Board of Directors and Medical Staff, is leading the search process for a new president & CEO.
"Along with his many accomplishments, Joe has never lost sight of the fact that Catholic Health is a ministry of the Church," said the Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, Th.D., Bishop of Buffalo. "He has been a dedicated servant leader, helping Catholic Health strengthen its mission to reveal the healing love of Jesus to those in need. He has shepherded programs and services that provide tens of millions of dollars in charity care and community benefit each year to serve the poor and vulnerable in our community."
McDonald is the third President & CEO in the history of Catholic Heath, which formed in 1998, bringing together Catholic healthcare providers from across the region. "While it has been my privilege and honor to lead our healthcare ministry for the past 15 years, the decision to retire at this time is the right one for me, my family and Catholic Health," he said. "As the system prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, it seems fitting that we look to welcome a new leader to usher in our next decade of service."
A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, McDonald joined Catholic Health in 2002, when the health system was experiencing the growing pains of coming together as a system and struggling financially. Today, as a result of McDonald's leadership, the system has experienced 14 consecutive years with a positive operating margin, seen significant growth in programs and services, and made tremendous contributions to the quality and safety of healthcare throughout the region.
"While no journey is without a few struggles, we have much to be proud of," said McDonald in looking back over his career with Catholic Health. "The reimagining of Our Lady of Victory into a senior living community, helped breathe new life into the Lackawanna Campus; saving St. Joseph Hospital from closure following the Berger Commission, has reinvigorated care at Sisters Hospital St. Joseph Campus; and the acquisition of Mount St. Mary's Hospital in 2015, helped complete our ministry and strengthen Catholic healthcare services in Niagara County."
Following his retirement, McDonald will split his time between Buffalo and Knoxville, continuing his service on local, statewide and national boards. He also wishes to thank the Buffalo community for making his family feel at home. "Buffalo's reputation as the city of good neighbors was never more evident than when I relocated here with my wife and young son," he continued. "We settled in the city and the community welcomed us with open arms. My wife found a home at the University of Buffalo School of Nursing and Buffalo was a great place to raise our son. This community will always hold a special place in our hearts."