Yale-New Haven Hospital has named Thomas Balcezak SPH ’03 as its new chief medical officer.

Balcezak, who took over the position immediately upon being named on Thursday, replacing Peter Herbert MD ’67, will be responsible for coordinating medical staff affairs, clinical quality and patient safety. He was formerly the senior vice president and chief quality officer of YNHH. Balcezak said the position of chief quality officer will be combined with the position of chief medical officer, so he will not be replaced. As the hospital anticipates a changing healthcare landscape, Balcezak will play an integral role in ensuring efficiency and quality of services in the face of rising costs, said Robert Alpern, dean of the Yale School of Medicine.

“I think the hospital has a lot of confidence in him,” Alpern said. “He has basically been groomed for this position.”

Balcezak said he hopes to oversee a smooth transition in the role, and is looking toward the challenges faced by YNHH in the coming years, such as maintaining the hospital’s role as an academic center.

He added that another one of the challenges facing YNHH will be to grow and take advantage of economies of scale that occur in a large and unified system, such as the consolidation of costly operations like human resources.

“As an academic medical center, we have a higher cost structure than most other hospitals, but we also provide some very important services to the community and the nation that others don’t,” Balcezak said. “We are one of a handful of hospitals that train most of the residents in the country. It’s a very important function, and it’s a function that increasingly no one wants to pay for.”

Harlan Krumoltz ’80, a professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and director of the YNHH Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, said that Balcezak is more than qualified to fill the role.

Prior to rising to YNHH’s top post, Balcezak worked directly under the former chief medical officer.

“He’s been being prepared for this role since the time he’s finished residency,” Krumoltz said. “Peter Herbert has done a great job, and managing this succession, I’m sure Tom won’t miss a beat continuing the efforts that have been made. He will not have any learning curve.”

Trained as an internist, Balcezak received his medical degree from the University of Connecticut and holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Public Health. He completed his internship and residency training at YNHH, where he served as the chief medical resident.

Bonnie Gould-Rothberg MED ’94 SPH ’05 GRD ’09, assistant professor of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, said that Balcezak combines a strong practical knowledge of medicine with administrative talent.

“I’ve known Tom since he was a medical intern, and I’ve worked with him practically the entire time he’s been at the hospital,” Gould-Rothberg said. “I think he’s a terrific selection for this position. He combines the sensibility of a clinician and patient advocate with a strong sense of how to achieve organizational excellence.”

Herbert will be transitioning to a new position as executive medical director for Concierge Medicine and Complex Cases. The move is likely a shift into the later stages of his career, Alpern said.

Yale-New Haven Hospital is the nation’s fourth largest hospital.