Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, which is planning to expand and create a nationally known brand, has hired Christopher T. Olivia, a veteran health-care executive who has experience in hospitals, physician groups, and insurance, as its new chief executive.
Olivia, 58, started this month, replacing Mike West, whose retirement after more than 20 years in the job was announced in February.
An ophthalmologist who received his medical degree at Hahnemann University, Olivia arrives at Rothman as the Philadelphia company is embarking on a dramatic expansion, with plans to grow from 212 physicians now to as many as 500 over the next three to five years.
Olivia said Tuesday that he would like to see Rothman become what he called the “first national musculoskeletal brand. No one has one.”
Before announcing an expansion to Florida last year, Rothman had already moved through New Jersey into New York from its home base in Southeastern Pennsylvania, where it was founded by renowned surgeon Richard Rothman in 1970. Rothman died in 2018.
Last month, Rothman announced a five-year partnership to bring its orthopedic services to CarePoint Health’s hospitals in Hoboken and Jersey City, both in North Jersey.
The company, which is working on a second significant move, after Florida, into a market far from its core Mid-Atlantic region, has 78 partners. It does not disclose revenues, but says it is the largest private orthopedic practice in the United States, ranked by the number of doctors.
Alexander R. Vaccaro, a spine specialist and Rothman’s president, said Olivia got the CEO post because of his experience on all sides of health care and his ability to “run a big business” that has relationships with large systems such as Jefferson Health and Main Line Health in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Northwell and Meridian in New York and New Jersey, and Advent in Florida.
Rothman doctors operate at about 30 locations in the Philadelphia region, including at Physicians Care Surgical Hospital in Limerick and at Rothman Orthopaedic Specialty Hospital in Bensalem. The institute’s six locations on the Jersey Shore stretch from Freehold to Cape May Courthouse.
“He’s going to get buy-in from all the stakeholders. Patients will love him. Our partners, i.e. other health care systems, will love him,” Vaccaro said.
Olivia’s experience includes a run as president and chief executive of what is now called Cooper University Health Care in Camden from late 2002 through early 2008. He helped lead a financial turnaround there and then an expansion, including a new patient tower.
Most recently, Olivia said, he was running the physician side of a large radiology group based in Pittsburgh and working with private-equity firms to acquire physician practices. He now lives in Florida, but will move back to the Philadelphia area, mostly likely to South Jersey, he said.
The Rothman Institute considered tapping private equity for money to expand a couple of years ago, but rejected it, Vaccaro said last year.
Vaccaro said the company’s expansion plan involves using the model it developed in Philadelphia and applying it to new markets. “It’s all about, don’t do things that don’t work, do things that are evidence-based, and patient first,” he said.
Separately, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Independence Health Group, the region’s largest health insurer, made significant executive announcements recently.
CHOP on Monday named Sophia G. Holder to replace the retiring Tom Todorow as its top financial executive. Holder was most recently vice president of finance at rival Boston Children’s Hospital.
Last week, Independence announced that Juan Lopez had been named CFO and treasurer, succeeding Gregory E. Deavens, who became CEO on Jan. 1. Lopez had been the company’s senior vice president of finance shared services.