Home Business Herbert Pardes, who led the growth of a giant hospital, dies at 89

Herbert Pardes, who led the growth of a giant hospital, dies at 89

by SuperiorInvest

Dr. Herbert Pardes, a psychiatrist and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health who orchestrated the merger of two major medical centers that became New York-Presbyterian Hospital and led it for 11 years, died April 30 at his home. in manhattan. He was 89 years old.

His son Steve said the cause was aortic stenosis.

Dr. Pardes (pronounced par-diss) was named president and CEO of the hospital in late 1999, nearly two years after the merger of New York Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital. The previous decade he had been dean of the medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, the medical school affiliated with Presbyterian.

“It was no secret that, as dean of the medical school, I didn't always agree with the hospital administration,” he said in his thick Bronx accent on CUNY TV in 2011. “I thought maybe I could create better collaboration.” reviewing to run the hospital.”

The merger created one of the largest health care institutions in the country, with 2,369 hospital beds, 13,000 employees and $1.6 billion in annual revenue. With 167 facilities, it stretched from Manhattan to Rockland and Orange counties in New York. Its hospitals include Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

“It was a surprisingly successful merger considering the different cultures of the two institutions,” Kenneth E. Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, a trade group, said in an interview. “He was the bridge that allowed the smooth and uncomplicated transition of that institution.”

But Alan Sager, a professor of health law at Boston University, without commenting on the New York-Presbyterian merger, said in an email: “Merger advocates always say, in a self-sanctifying way, that they are combining to help us, not themselves. But if mergers reduced costs (never proven), the result would be higher hospital surpluses, not lower insurance premiums.”

Dr. Pardes aspired to make New York-Presbyterian a model of health care, with an intense focus on patients, efficient management and rigid financial controls. He visited the beds, insisted that nurses memorize the names of patients and their families, and ordered that rooms and hallways be painted in soft colors.

“I have never been able to overcome a problem,” he said in a profile of him in The New York Times in 2007. “I have to solve it. This profession is, first and foremost, about helping patients survive; always has been. Unfortunately, I think we can sometimes lose sight of that.”

Mr. Raske said, “Herb faced life's problems with a boyish smile and a touch of borscht belt humor.”

Dr. Pardes was a major fundraiser for New York-Presbyterian, helping to secure donations from the mega-rich to build facilities such as Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center, and the Iris Cantor Men's and Women's Health Centers. . , all in Manhattan.

“He had a way of socializing with high-powered people and convincing them to give big gifts,” Steve Pardes said.

Herbert Pardes was born on July 7, 1934 in the Bronx and grew up primarily in Lakewood, New Jersey. His parents, Louis and Frances (Bergman) Pardes, owned the Greenwood Hotel in Lakewood, which became a nursing home in the late 1950s, and managed resorts in the Catskills borscht belt.

At age 7, Herbert was diagnosed with Perthes disease, a rare childhood disease in which the blood supply to the ball of the hip joint is temporarily interrupted, weakening the bone. Although he recovered without any lasting damage, he spent 10 months hospitalized in a full-body cast. Grim doctors stuck needles in him without explanation, and hospital rules limited his parents' visits to just an hour a couple of times a week, he recalled. The experience traumatized him but, decades later, it motivated him to be more attentive to patients.

As a young man he worked for his parents, watching as they pampered the resort's guests. He sold sodas for 10 cents, raised money for the war effort, served as a bellhop, waited tables, and rose to maître d'hôtel.

“The dining room was a microcosm of eccentric behavior, a great behavioral laboratory for someone who would become a psychiatrist,” Dr. Pardes told The Times in 2003.

He graduated from Rutgers University in 1956 with a bachelor's degree and then earned his medical degree in 1960 from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine (now SUNY Downstate University of Health Sciences) in Brooklyn. He completed his medical internship and psychiatric residency at Kings County County Hospital in Brooklyn from 1960 to 1962.

After being drafted into the Army, Dr. Pardes ran the mental hygiene clinic at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, from 1962 to 1964. He was discharged and completed his residency in 1966, then graduated from the Psychoanalytic Institute of New York in 1970.

For most of the next two decades, he built his career around mental health as chairman of the department of psychiatry at Downstate, chairman of the department of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Denver Medical Center, and director of the NIMH, where he strengthened your investigation. program.

In 1984, Dr. Pardes was named director of the psychiatry service at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and chairman of the department of psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Five years later, he was named vice president for health sciences at the school and dean of the school of medicine, positioning him to lead New York-Presbyterian Hospital after the merger.

In addition to his son Steve, he is survived by two other sons, James and Lawrence, six grandchildren, and his partner, Dr. Nancy Wexler, a professor of neuropsychology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons who was the principal investigator of a study on Huntington's disease. of an extended family in Venezuela for two decades. She herself has the disease. He was separated from his wife, Judith (Silber) Pardes, since the 1980s. He died in 2022.

Dr. Pardes was a well-compensated nonprofit executive, even after he resigned as president and CEO in 2011. He was later named executive vice president of the hospital's board of directors, a position that compensation experts said was rare in the nonprofit world. , according to a 2014 Times article.

In 2011, his last year at the helm of the hospital, he earned $4.1 million (equivalent to about $5.8 million today). Then, as executive vice president, he received $5.5 million, including $2 million in deferred compensation in 2012. Through 2022, he received at least $2 million a year.

Frank Bennack Jr., then chairman of the hospital's board of directors, told The Times in a statement in 2014 that Dr. Pardes had been hired for “urgent fundraising activities and a variety of other institutional needs with which he could help his magnificent successor.”

Dr. Steven J. Corwin succeeded him and remains in that position.

Steve Pardes said focusing on compensation bothered his father. “When he compared himself to CEOs of profitable businesses, it is possible that he was undercompensated,” Pardes said. “But he wasn't focused on the money. He wanted to be paid a fair salary for what he contributed.”

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