ABINGTON, PA (December 10, 2009)–John H. Durham, chairman, Board of Trustees of Abington Health and Abington Memorial Hospital, announces that, after a national search, the Board of Trustees of Abington Health voted to appoint Laurence M. Merlis its new president and chief executive officer. Merlis will be succeeding Richard L. Jones, Jr., who will be retiring effective January 31, 2010. Jones had announced his planned retirement last July.
“We are very pleased that Mr. Merlis has accepted the position as president and chief executive officer of the Abington Health system,” Durham commented. “After careful review of the candidates, the search committee concluded that he was the best candidate to provide the vision and leadership that will be so critical for Abington over the next decade.”
Merlis has served as president and chief executive officer at GBMC HealthCare/Greater Baltimore Medical Center since 1999. During his tenure, the hospital has maintained strong operating margins and achieved consistent growth, earning it an A+ credit rating from Standard and Poors and A-2 from Moody’s. Merlis initiated a clinical affiliation with Johns Hopkins, as well as several joint ventures with physicians. Under his leadership, a clinical technology plan was introduced at GBMC that included PET/CT, robotic surgery, capsule technology and an advanced linear accelerator.
Prior to joining GBMC HealthCare, Merlis had served as executive vice president of Meridian Health System from 1997 to 1999, as president and chief executive officer of Riverview Healthcare Services from 1993 to 1997; and as president and chief executive officer of Essex Valley Healthcare from 1986 to 1993.
Originally from Bay Shore, NY, Merlis earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Union College and a Masters of Business Administration from The George Washington University. He is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and served as vice chairman of the Maryland Hospital Association, among many other professional activities. Merlis will assume his role at Abington on February 15, 2010.
Abington Health is the umbrella organization that encompasses its flagship hospital, Abington Memorial Hospital, in Abington and Lansdale Hospital in Hatfield Township. Abington Health entities also include convenient outpatient facilities, Abington Health Center — Schilling Campus in Willow Grove and Abington Health Center — Warminster Campus in Bucks County. Together, these facilities serve more than 44,000 inpatients, 123,000 emergency patients and over 560,000 outpatient visits annually. Also included is Abington Health Physicians, a network of specialists and primary care physicians employed by Abington Memorial Hospital and Lansdale Hospital. All told, Abington Health’s medical staff consists of more than 1,400 primary care physicians and medical and surgical specialists, as well as over 125 physicians-in-training within five residency programs. Abington Health employs 6,400 employees, making it one of the largest employers in Montgomery County.