New CEO Named for Helen Hayes Hospital

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 2, 2008) – State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today announced that he will appoint Val S. Gray as Chief Executive Officer of Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw. Mr. Gray has directed the Department of Health's Bureau of Health Facilities Management since 2005.

Mr. Gray will succeed Magdalena Ramirez, who is retiring after nearly 20 years as Helen Hayes' CEO. Her last day in the office was Sept. 30; Mr. Gray will serve as acting CEO until Ms. Ramirez's effective retirement date of Oct. 23.

"Val Gray has a successful history with the Department of Health and is well-qualified for this position. Before he joined us in 2003, Val spent more than 20 years overseeing several hospitals in New York and has developed a wealth of experience in hospital administration," Commissioner Daines said.

"I also congratulate Maggie Ramirez on her retirement after a 30-year career dedicated to the health of New Yorkers," Commissioner Daines added. "Since she began leading Helen Hayes Hospital in 1989, she has expanded clinical and research services to include a transitional center for patients with traumatic brain injuries, specialty disability Centers of Excellence and additional therapy clinics. We wish her well."

Mr. Gray began his career at Arnot-Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, and was CEO of the Cornwall Hospital from 1986-98. He then spent three years at the Greater Hudson Valley Health System, first as senior vice president for administration and then as president. He joined DOH in 2003 as Deputy Director of Health Facilities Management and became Director in 2005.

During his time at DOH, Mr. Gray supervised the rebuilding of the New York State Veterans Nursing Home at Oxford (serving the Southern Tier), which is nearing completion. In addition, the State Veterans Nursing Home in Batavia (Western New York) implemented an innovative "zero-lift" system, using mechanical means so that no staffer would have to risk injury lifting a patient. The Department of Health also operates Veterans Nursing Homes in St. Albans (New York City) and Montrose (Hudson Valley).

Mr. Gray earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Alfred University, and a master's degree in business administration from Cornell University.

Operated by the Department of Health, Helen Hayes Hospital is one of the nation's leading physical rehabilitation centers. Founded in 1900 as the New York State Hospital for the Care of Crippled and Deformed Children serving children with tuberculosis and polio, the hospital is now affiliated with New York Presbyterian Healthcare System and is capable of caring for patients with the most complex and challenging disabilities. It has 155 inpatient beds, a comprehensive day hospital program and an active outpatient care service. In 1980, the hospital was renamed in honor of the Broadway and film actress Helen Hayes, who served on the Board of Visitors at the hospital from 1944 until her death in 1993. She was instrumental in fund-raising for the hospital, including successful efforts in the 1970s to modernize the hospital.