By Nathan Duke
St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children announced last week that its chairman of the board would take over as president following the death earlier this year of Burton Grebin, who had led the Bayside hospital since 1991.
Jeffrey Frerichs will take over as the hospital’s president and chief executive officer July 6, a spokeswoman for the hospital said. He has been a member of the St. Mary’s board for eight years, of which two have been spent as its chairman.
“Following a national, nine-month search, it was clear that Jeff Frerichs was the right person to move this extraordinary organization into the future,” said Stephen Brent Wells, vice chairman of the St. Mary’s board. “We are confident that under Jeff’s leadership, St. Mary’s can continue to achieve truly wonderful things for the children of New York and grow to serve children across the northeast, the nation and, perhaps, the world.”
Grebin, who joined St. Mary’s in 1975 as its medical director and, in 1991, became its chief executive officer, died at age 68 in January. At the time of his death, he had been the longest-serving health care executive in the city following 36 years of leadership at the hospital.
The nonprofit hospital, at 29-01 216th St. in Bayside, is one of only several institutions nationwide to provide intensive rehabilitation, specialized care and education for children with special needs and life-limiting conditions. The site treats an estimated 4,000 children each day through its network of inpatient, home care and community programs.
Frerichs previously held positions as president of Manhattan’s Cabrini Medical Center as well as St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, which is based in Manhattan but has a site in Elmhurst. He also worked as a partner and senior vice president of Witt/Kieffer, an international executive search firm.
“I am especially humbled to accept this position following the passing of Dr. Burton Grebin,” Frerichs said. “I can only hope to build on the enormous successes he achieved in his decades at the helm of St. Mary’s.”
Frerichs holds a master of public administration in health care administration from New York University. He has two children and lives with his wife in Manhattan.
Under Grebin’s leadership, St. Mary’s established the nation’s first Palliative Care program for children as well as the state’s first long-term home health care program for children and the most expansive home care for children with HIV/AIDS.
He also set up the city’s first traumatic brain injury and coma recovery program for children and one of only nine interdisciplinary pediatric feeding disorder programs in the nation.
During his tenure, Grebin transformed the Bayside hospital from a 40-bed nursing home for children into a $100 million health care system.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.