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David Passafaro, veteran government, health care, and business leader, to lead N.E. Baptist

David Passafaro becomes president of New England Baptist Hospital on Oct. 1, John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/File 2004

David Passafaro, a veteran government, health care, and business leader, will become president of New England Baptist Hospital on Oct. 1.

Passafaro will succeed the current president and chief executive, Trish Hannon, who is stepping down, the hospital said in a press release Thursday.

The announcement comes as the proposed merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health, which would include New England Baptist, is being reviewed by state Attorney General Maura Healey and federal regulators.

Hannon has been invited to serve as a trustee for the new health system, to be called Beth Israel Lahey Health; she has been president of New England Baptist since 2009.


Passafaro, senior vice president for external affairs at the hospital, was a top aide to then-Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston in the 1990s. He has worked at New England Baptist, a specialty teaching hospital recognized for orthopedic care and the treatment of musculoskeletal diseases and disorders, since 2015, after moving there from Suffolk Construction, according to the news release.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Trish for a number of years, and admire the success she has achieved at the Baptist,” Kevin Tabb, the CEO-designate of Beth Israel Lahey Health, said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working together to build the new health system that will transform healthcare for the Commonwealth.”

The new system would include all hospitals in the Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey systems, as well as New England Baptist, Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, and Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport. It would be the second-largest health system in Massachusetts, behind Partners HealthCare, and reportedly would have revenue of more than $5 billion annually.

The state Public Health Council approved the transaction in April.

But the attorney general recently raised concerns about the proposed merger in a letter to the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, saying it could increase health care costs and threaten access to care.


On July 18, the commission published a report saying the proposed union of the two systems could lead to higher payments from insurance companies. The report estimated the merger could increase medical spending in Massachusetts by as much as $191.3 million a year for inpatient, outpatient, and primary care services.

The proposed merger is also opposed by competitors Wellforce, the parent of Tufts Medical Center and other hospitals, and Steward Health Care System, a for-profit company that runs nine Massachusetts hospitals.

Thomas Oide can be reached at thomas.oide@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @thomasoide.