Chutes & Ladders—Ascension's Cacchione to lead Jefferson Health, Biden admin names monkeypox leads and more

Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please submit the good news—or the bad—from your shop, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Jefferson Health

Joseph G. Cacchione, M.D.
(Jefferson Health)

Joseph G. Cacchione, M.D., will the next CEO of Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University effective Sept. 6, the academic system’s board of directors announced this week.

Cacchione is being pulled away from Ascension Health, where he currently serves as EVP of clinical and network services. He had come to the 145-hospital Catholic giant in 2017 as the CEO of its Ascension Michigan system.

Cacchione’s resume also includes eight years in business development, operations and strategy roles at the Cleveland Clinic, a role as EVP and chief of quality operations at Saint Vincent’s Health System and 20 years in private practice as a cardiologist and executive.

Jefferson’s board highlighted Cacchione’s experience leading large clinical organizations with a focus on quality, patient experience and inclusiveness. He will be working alongside Emeritus Board Trustee and Interim Jefferson Health CEO H. Richard Haverstick, Jr., to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

Biden Administration

Robert Fenton
(FEMA/Bill Koplitz)

Robert Fenton was named this week as the White House’s National Monkeypox Response Coordinator.

Fenton is a regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where he helped to coordinate COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

He’s also twice served as the agency’s acting administrator and has headed numerous operations surrounding disease outbreaks, natural disasters and humanitarian operations.

Demetre Daskalakis, M.D.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Joining him in leading the response will be Deputy Coordinator Demetre Daskalakis, M.D., the White House announced.

Currently the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of HIV Prevention, Daskalakis was hailed by the administration as an expert in clinical care and public health leadership for health issues affecting the LGBQIA+ communities.

He had previously overseen management of infectious diseases for New York City’s health department and stepped in as incident commander for its COVID-19 response.

Together, the new leads have over four decades of federal emergency response and public health leadership, the administration said. They will coordinate and manage response efforts across all federal departments and agencies while working with others on the local, state and international levels to combat the pandemic, which was recently declared a Public Health Emergency by the administration.


Tara Johnson

Tara Johnson is the first general counsel for Centivo, a startup health plan for self-funded employers.

As the first to hold the role, Johnson will report to Chief Business Officer Stuart Roth and head the plan’s legal function. She’ll also be advising on legal matters for the company’s clients and members, which could include commercial contracting, data privacy activities and healthcare regulations and compliance.

Johnson has lived in the healthcare ecosystem for the past 15 years. She comes directly from UnitedHealthcare, where she held a slew of roles culminating in the titles of senior associate general counsel and director of regulatory affairs.

Johnson also held roles at Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield in Rochester, New York, and kicked off her legal career as an assistant district attorney for New York’s Monroe County.

Northwell Health

Sophy Lu
(Northwell Health)

Sophy Lu is in as the new chief information officer of Northwell Health, the New York system announced this week.

She takes over for John Bosco, who manned the post from 2004 to his recent retirement. The role will have her overseeing a team of more than 1,900 employees and 3,000 technology tools used by clinicians and administrations.

Lu is an SVP who has been with Northwell for the past 12 years. She took on the role of chief applications officer in 2017, supporting Northwell’s digital tech goals and ensuring effective implementation and maintenance of its digital administration systems. She was named as deputy chief information officer earlier this year.

Lu preceded her time at Northwell with years in the industrial gas industry. She has helped design and build a liquified natural gas plant in Indonesia and designed numerous air separation plants, according to Northwell’s announcement.  

CommonSpirit Health welcomed its new CEO Wright Lassiter on Aug. 1.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services swore in Samuel Bagenstos as general counsel.

Universal Health Services announced Peggy Thomas as VP for nursing and chief nursing officer for its Binghamton, New York-based system, UHS Hospitals.

Ochsner Health has named SVP and Executive Adviser Jeffrey Fernandez as the CEO of Ochsner Health Plan.

TurningPoint Healthcare Solutions, a specialty care management services and tech company for health plans, added Jim Cronin as chief operating officer and Deneen Vojta, M.D., as president of health solutions and innovation.

The Group Savings Organization hired Fred Brown as chief technology officer.

Trusted Health, a labor marketplace for healthcare professionals, unveiled Beatrice Pang as its new chief financial officer.

Arcada, a healthcare and life sciences data analytics platform, appointed Chris D’Arcy as chief human resources officer.

ScriptRx, Bravado Health and TreatRx, all digital health technology brands, named Chief Operating and Financial Officer Mallory Tai Taylor as the trio’s new CEO.

Aon tapped Tracy Spencer as pharmacy solutions leader.

BHSH Health System’s Kristine Donahue was named president of Beaumont Health’s Taylor, Trenton and Wayne hospitals after previously serving as their chief operating officer. Within the organization’s Spectrum Health West Michigan division, Jon Ashforn was announced as chief operating officer of Spectrum Health Grand Rapids while Vikram Kashyap, M.D., was tapped as VP and department chief of the Spectrum Health Frederik Meijer Heart and Vascular Institute.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana announced Curtis Adners as VP of provider networks and contracting, and Sherri Enright as SVP and chief human resources officer.

Therapy Brands, a health IT company for mental, behavioral and rehabilitative providers, named Jeffrey Shoreman as CEO.

Labor First, a provider of group retiree Medicare benefit management solutions, expanded its team with Rick Kaplan as chief growth officer and Sheela Andrews as chief product officer.

Edifecs, a health IT company, announced the recent hirings of Raymond Bonnett as VP of professional services, Mark Filiault as VP of payer sales, Paul Acton as VP of solution consulting and Brian Hanley as VP of public sector sales.

Open Medicare, a platform that helps seniors select a Medicare plan, announced Anthony Kavouras as CEO.

Iodine Software, an enterprise artificial intelligence platform for healthcare, picked up Priti Shah as chief product and technology officer.

Huma Therapeutics Limited, a digital health and remote patient monitoring company, appointed Kaushik Gune as its U.S. head of healthcare.