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More than two years into the search, L.A. County may be close to choosing a new health services chief

May 24, 2010 | 12:31 pm

Daniel Snyder, a healthcare industry executive and former Navy medic, is in the running to become the new chief of Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services, among the largest publicly-run healthcare systems in the country and a department that has been without permanent leadership for more than two years.

Snyder came to Los Angeles last week to meet with county leaders and local healthcare providers at the request of William T Fujioka, the county's chief executive, according to a source familiar with the search. The visit marks at least the second time Snyder has been brought to meet with county officials, the source said.

Fujioka declined to confirm that Snyder was a candidate and said he would not comment until the search process is completed.

The board is expected to consider Snyder’s appointment during closed session discussions Tuesday at its regularly scheduled meeting. It is unclear how many supervisors support his appointment. If approved, Snyder would replace Interim Chief John Schunhoff, 63, who has held the position since Dr. Bruce Chernof resigned in April 2008.

An appointment would bring to an end the lengthy search for a new department head that has included at least one other leading candidate, Bob Sillen, the former leader of the state prison healthcare system, who supervisors rejected last summer, deputies have said.

Most of Snyder’s experience has been in the private sector. He served as an executive at Singapore-based Parkway Health, running a system of 16 private hospitals in Asia; at Banner Health, running about a dozen hospitals across several western states, including a hospital in Northern California; and at Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health Care, running a system of three hospitals, records show. Before entering the private sector, Snyder oversaw naval hospitals with about 650 beds and 2,000 employees, according to his resume.

Snyder could not be reached for comment by phone or e-mail.

Taking over the department would be a big leap for Snyder. He would manage a $3.4-billion annual budget, oversee 20,000 staff members at four public hospitals, two ambulatory care centers and six comprehensive health centers, coordinate more than 100 public and private clinics, and help reopen troubled Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital under a new nonprofit board in partnership with the University of California Regents.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske