Maccabi director Ehud Kokia to be next Hadassah dir.-gen.

He will replace Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, also obstetrics/gynecologist, long-time medical administrator, head of the HMO for a decade.

Hadassah hospital 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Hadassah hospital 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prof. Ehud Kokia, a obstetrician and fertility specialist who has been director-general of Maccabi Health Services – the second largest health fund – for the last four years, will later this year become director- general of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO).
He will replace Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, also a obstetrics/gynecologist by training and long-time medical administrator who has been head of the HMO for a decade and is two years younger than Kokia, who is 61.
The decision by the joint Israeli and American board of directors of the HMO, which is owned by the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA), was announced on Tuesday.
There were no US finalist candidates for the powerful post, which is responsible not only for the two Hadassah University Medical Centers in Jerusalem but also the HMO’s affiliated schools (with Hebrew University) of medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health and occupational therapy.
“I am moving from one outstanding medical institution to another,” said Kokia, who lives in Yavneh. “I feel the weight of historical responsibility in the leadership of HMO, which has an international name and outstanding standards of excellence.
I aim to help Hadassah continue to grow and develop [along the route] paved by my friend and colleague, Shlomo Mor-Yosef.”
Mor-Yosef, who has not yet decided on his next career move, praised his successor and said he is sure Kokia would help the HMO will reach new heights.
Kokia, who in 2009 received his Tel Aviv University professorship in public health, graduated from TAU’s Sackler Medical Faculty with honors and has been a physician for 37 years. He trained in obstetrics/ gynecology at Sheba Medical Center while he received his MA in medical administration at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
He served as a senior officer in the IAF after studying aviation medicine with the US Navy in Florida and was a researcher in endocrinology and fertility at the University of Maryland.
He worked as a senior ob/gyn at Sheba and has lectured on fertility, endocrinology and health policy at TAU and BGU.
Dr. Yair Birnbaum, the deputy director-general of HMO who was brought there by Mor-Yosef after working five years as deputy medical director- general at Maccabi and was succeeded by Kokia, said he was pleased by the highly qualified appointment. He said the medical staff of HMO were very happy by the announcement on Kokia.
The only published finalist for the job – Kokia’s name had not been made public before Tuesday – was Prof. Tamar Peretz, a highly respected cancer expert who heads HMO’s Sharett Institute of Oncology in Ein Kerem. She campaigned hard for months to replace Mor-Yosef and even gave a long interview to a Hebrew Jerusalem weekly on Friday that presented her as the leading candidate.
HMO board chairman Yossi Rosen said before a ceremony launching the 100th anniversary year of HWZOA that Kokia “is the right person” to head HMO.
“His personality and experience will make it possible for Hadassah to continue to be a leading institution in Israel’s medical system and renowned in the whole world.”
HWZOA president Nancy Falchuk, who is completing her term in a few months, thanked the search committee for its six months of efforts to find a successor to Mor-Yosef.
Both the incoming and outgoing directors-general will be present next year at the opening of the huge new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower, where all inpatient facilities will be concentrated on the Ein Kerem campus.
Falchuk will be replaced in the summer by Marcie Natan as HWZOA president.
Prof. Yehoshua Shemer, acting chairman of Maccabi Health Services and chairman of the board of Assuta private hospitals said that Kokia – his successor at Maccabi – “has a gift of deep understanding of processes in the health system, much integrity and the ability to lead a large medical institution such as Hadassah.”
Ido Hadari, the Maccabi spokesman, said he was happy for Kokia but sorry to lose him to Hadassah, as he was an excellent director-general. A search committee will look for a replacement as director-general during the next two or three months.
Kupat Holim Meuhedet, the third-largest health fund, is also looking for a new director but in different circumstances – the resignation of Shmuel Muallem following corruption and malfeasance charges against him by the State Comptroller’s Office last year.