Director of L.A. County’s Health Services Announces Departure

The man who has led Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services for the past seven years is returning to his home of New York to care for his aging parents. Dr. Mitchell Katz announced his impending departure in an email to the Board of Supervisors Friday. He has accepted a job as chief executive of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., which oversees public hospitals, nursing facilities, and clinics in the city.

“I’m incredibly sad,” said Katz. “I love Los Angeles County. It’s been extremely good to me, I’ve had only positive experiences and I’m incredibly proud of how different the Department of Health Services is today than it was seven years ago.”

Katz was recruited to lead the nation’s second-largest public healthcare system in 2010 while employed as head of San Francisco's public health department. In 2015, he was also appointed chief of the county’s Health Agency.

Katz has overseen a number of important initiatives in L.A. County, including the reopening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, a transition to electronic health records, the establishment of a “Housing for Health” division for those with severe mental and physical health difficulties and, perhaps most notably, the county’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act. During that time, Katz -- a physician -- also continued to see patients.

Supervisors described him as an exceptional and transformational leader. Sheila Kuehl called his departure “an incredible loss to the county.”

A search is already underway for the next director of health services. Katz has urged the board to conduct a separate search for the Health Agency position, believing the two roles should be separated.


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