Montefiore’s Dr. Foreman passes

Dr. Spencer “Spike” Foreman, credited with building Montefiore Medical Center into the healthcare giant of the Bronx, died May 28 at age 77 after his own lengthy battle with brain cancer.

News of his death at his home in White Plains was contained in a paid death notice by Montefiore in the New York Times. Montefiore, now headed by Dr. Steven Safyer, did not notify the general media.

Foreman stepped down as the medical center president in March of 2007 at age 71 after two decades with the non-profit health system.

Montefiore said in the paid death notice that Foreman “set the hospital on course to become a national model for managing the health care of an underserved urban population.”

A pulmonary specialist by training, under Foreman’s leadership, the hospital showed a continual annual net profit averaging $22 milllion on a $2 billion operating budget while a number of other hospitals in the Bronx and across the city were operating in the red.

He also helped begin Montefiore’s takeover of other borough and nearby hospitials with the absorption of Our Lady of Mercy in Wakefield in 2008.

“Spike was one of my two go-to guys on all health issues in the Bronx,” said former borough president Fernando (Freddy) Ferrer, who knew Foreman from his early days at Montefiore. “He was brilliant, tough, compassionate, a healthcare visionary – and a very good friend over the years. I’ll miss him.”

Calling him “a man of vision,” Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said Foreman “brought hope to the 1.4 million people of the Bronx and around the world, and for this we are grateful.”

Under Foreman’s successor, Dr. Safyer, Montefiore has since expanded its roster of borough physicians affiliating themselves with it, extended its healthcare programs, and most recently absorbed bankrupt Westchester Square Medical Center as well as two other hospitals in Westchester while constructing a medical services tower at the Hutchinson Metro Center.

“Under Dr. Foreman, Montefiore established leading innovative social programs including an adolescent AIDS program, a medically based Child Advocacy Center, one of the nation’s largest school health programs and one of the first lead poisoning prevention programs,” Montefiore stated.

The death also cited Foreman’s strengthening of the Montefiore Medical Group, an extensive system of ambulatory care centers throughout the Bronx and Westchester, “securing Montefiore’s place as a fully integrated, regional health care system” as well Foreman opening “the now internationally recognized” Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.

Foreman is survived by his wife Sandra, their children Cori (Barry) LeVine, Todd (Tracy) Foreman, Cheryl (Kevin) Boyarsky, Andrea (Steve) Kline, and their ten grandchildren.

Services were held Thursday, May 30, at the Westchester Jewish Center in Mamaroneck.

The family requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.

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