Dr. Harold Paz steps down as leader of Penn State Hershey Medical Center

Written by Tim Lambert, WITF Multimedia News Director | Jul 9, 2014 12:30 PM

(Hershey) -- The leader of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center is stepping down at the end of the month to take a job with health insurer Aetna.

Dr. Harold Paz has spent the past eight years as CEO of Hershey Med, overseeing a period of growth that culminated last month with the announcement of an agreement to merge with PinnacleHealth System.

He'll join Aetna as its executive vice president and chief medical officer, where he'll work to assess the impact of the health care industry's changing landscape on the insurer and its stakeholders.
Paz will also be tasked with driving clinical innovation.

“It has been my privilege to serve Penn State over these past eight years and be entrusted with advancing our missions of education, research, patient care and community service,” Paz said in a statement. “During my time here, I was blessed to work with countless faculty, students and staff of the highest caliber and have been repeatedly inspired by their determination to improve health, advance the practice of medicine and serve our community.”

During his tenure, Paz initiated the creation of Penn State Hershey Medical Group, which includes 64 outpatient practices and more than 1,000 physicians and clinicians and the Penn State Hershey Health System, which features four hospitals and 18 affiliated hospitals.

He also oversaw a 1.5 million square foot expansion of the med center's East Health Campus, which featured new facilities for the Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital.

The facility experienced growth in annual outpatient and emergency department visits, admissions and surgical cases. It also boasted positive operating margins in every fiscal year Paz was at the helm, including a period encompassing the global recession.

“Hal Paz has presided over an unprecedented period of growth and stability at Penn State Hershey,” says Penn State President Eric Barron. “His time at Penn State has been marked by new and innovative academic programs, growth in health sciences research, expanded access to patient care and increased service to our community. We are grateful for his service to students and patients alike on behalf of Penn State.”

Paz received a bachelor's degree in biology and psychology from the University of Rochester, a master of science in life science engineering from Tufts University and his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He completed his internship and residency at Northwestern University, where he served as chief medical resident and instructor in clinical medicine. He was a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School, where he was a Eudowood Fellow. In addition, he was a post-doctoral fellow in environmental health science at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

His last day at Hershey will be July 28th.

Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier has been appointed to serve as CEO, senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine upon Paz’s departure. Barron plans to hold a national search for the role, but did not set a specific timeline.

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