Health care veteran James Benedict will lead University Hospitals’ Ahuja Medical Center

Health care veteran James J. Benedict Jr. will lead UH Ahuja Medical Center — the Beachwood, Ohio, hospital and medical office building at the center of University Hospitals’ aggressive growth plan — when it opens in 2011.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Health care veteran James J. Benedict Jr. will lead UH Ahuja Medical Center — the Beachwood, Ohio, hospital and medical office building at the center of University Hospitals’ aggressive growth plan — when it opens in 2011.

Benedict, who was named president of the center, already oversees operational planning for the $230.5 million health care campus, University Hospitals (UH) said in a written statement. In two years, he also will be responsible for assembling and leading a team that provides medical, surgical and emergency services to patients in Cleveland’s eastern and southeastern suburbs.

“Since joining University Hospitals, Jim has played a vital role in the dramatic growth and financial success of our health system,” said Dr. Achilles Demetriou, president of the University Hospitals health system.

Benedict joined UH in 2004 as senior vice president and general manager of operations at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland. He had been at MetroHealth Medical Center as vice president of medical operations. In 2006, he was named UH’s senior vice president of ambulatory operations and community hospital planning. Â Under his leadership, University Hospitals expanded its non-hospital health centers to communities including Twinsburg, Mayfield and Hudson, UH said.

Benedict also has been part of the team that planned, designed and built UH Concord Health Center, which opens next week, as well as UH Medina Health Center, scheduled to open in early 2010. In all, Benedict has more than 20 years’ experience in physician practice development, acquisition and growth strategies for physician specialty networks, hospital management and development of large-scale construction projects.

Prior to his stint at MetroHealth, Benedict spent 13 years as a leader at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He holds a law degree from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall School of Law. He also is a certified public accountant, earning a master’s degree in accounting and financial information management from Cleveland State, UH said. Benedict earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea.

“It is my privilege to serve every day with the talented physicians, nurses, health care professionals and employees of the UH family,” Benedict said in the UH statement. “Our health system continues to grow throughout Northeast Ohio, and the UH Ahuja Medical Center will enable us to better serve our patients.” 

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The UH Ahuja Medical Center is a key component of UH’s $1.2 billion Vision 2010 strategic plan, which includes the future UH Cancer Hospital and Center for Emergency Medicine, both at UH Case Medical Center, as well as the recently opened Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the health system said. THe facility is named in honor of Monte and Usha Ahuja and their family, which have committed $30 million to University Hospitals, the largest gift in the health system’s history.

The first phase of the medical center is a 60,000-square-foot medical office building and a 144-bed hospital. The hospital could be expanded to 600 beds over three phases.  Primary and secondary care services will include general medical and surgical care, minimally invasive surgery, cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, pediatric outpatient surgery, diagnostics and emergency care for adults and children. 

University Hospitals believes its Vision 2010 plan will create about 2,000 hospital jobs in Northeast Ohio, adding up to more than $500 million in annual salaries, wages and benefits.