News from MHA's 83rd Annual Meeting

Joseph A. White to Chair MHA’s Board of Trustees

Joseph A. “Jody” White, the president & CEO of Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health, is the 79th Chair of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association Board of Trustees. He succeeds Mark A. Keroack, M.D., president & CEO, Baystate Health. The transfer of the one-year term occurred last week at MHA’s 83rd Annual Meeting.
In his inaugural address last Thursday, White urged attendees to think beyond the walls of their own facilities to connect all the components of the commonwealth’s health system, and to work collaboratively to advance and improve health for everyone in the commonwealth. 
“As the healthcare sector continues the march toward value and reducing the total cost of care, it will drive us to a better understanding of the complete care continuum, to new expanded partnerships that improve access and efficiency,” White said. “We will be asked to think differently about not only the total cost of high-quality care but also about finding new ways to fund investments that prevent illness in the first place. Several of our members are well along in this journey and it is my hope we can all learn and engage.”
Both White and MHA President & CEO Steve Walsh, in his address to the annual gathering, noted a variety of hospital-led efforts throughout the commonwealth to improve the delivery of care. Walsh cited MHA’s “Caring for the Caregiver” initiative to identify and promote ways that Massachusetts hospitals and health systems can best support their frontline caregivers. 
“We all know that the most important component of healthcare is people,” said Walsh. “Hospitals will redouble their efforts in the coming year to ensure the healthcare workforce has the resiliency and resources to improve care to patients, families and communities.”
At Thursday’s annual meeting, MHA's board leadership team was announced for 2019-2020:
Chair: Joseph A. White, president & CEO, Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health.
Chair-elect: Eric W. Dickson, M.D., president & CEO, UMass Memorial Health Care
Treasurer: Kevin B. Churchwell, M.D.; president & COO, Boston Children’s Hospital
Secretary: Christine C. Schuster, R.N., president & CEO, Emerson Hospital
Immediate Past Chair: Mark A. Keroack, M.D., president & CEO, Baystate Health.
Past Chair Most Recently Retired: Kate E. Walsh, president & CEO, Boston Medical Center
President (ex officio): Steve Walsh, president & CEO, MHA
They join these MHA Board of Trustee members: 
Maureen Banks, R.N., COO, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and president, Spaulding Hospital for Continuing Medical Care Cambridge & Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod; Winfield S. Brown, president & CEO, Heywood Healthcare; Philip M. Cormier; CEO, Beverly Hospital, part of Beth Israel Lahey Health; Ruth Ellen Fitch, Esq., Trustee, Boston Medical Center; Andrew S. Freed; trustee, MelroseWakefield Healthcare and CEO, Virtual, Inc.; Gene E. Green, M.D., president & CEO, South Shore Health System; Spiros Hatiras, president & CEO, Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems; Peter J. Healy, president, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, part of Beth Israel Lahey Health; Kim Hollon, president & CEO, Signature Healthcare and Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital; Therese M. Hudson-Jinks, R.N., president, Organization of Nurse Leaders and chief nursing officer and SVP, patient care services, Tufts Medical Center; Michael R. Jaff, D.O., president, Newton-Wellesley Hospital; Thea L. James, M.D., VP, mission and associate CMO, Boston Medical Center; Edward J. Kelly, president & CEO, Milford Regional Medical Center; Michael K. Lauf, president & CEO, Cape Cod Healthcare and Cape Cod Hospital; Joanne Marqusee, president & CEO, Cooley Dickinson Health; Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., president, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Brigham Health; Anne Roper, CEO, Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital, An Affiliate of Encompass Health; Michael J. Sheehy, M.D., chief of population health & analytics, Reliant Medical Group; Nancy L. Shendell-Falik, R.N., president, Baystate Medical Center & SVP, hospital operations, Baystate Health; Kevin Tabb, M.D.; president & CEO, Beth Israel Lahey Health; Deborah K. Weymouth, president & CEO, UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital; Michael J. Widmer, PhD, past president, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation; Louis J. Woolf, president & CEO, Hebrew SeniorLife.

Lawrence General’s Anderson Receives Prestigious Lane Award

Dianne J. Anderson, R.N., the president & CEO of Lawrence General Hospital, was honored at last week’s MHA Annual Meeting for her concerted effort over the years to improve, expand, and sustain the independent hospital she runs that serves more than 325,000 patients a year – three-quarters of whom are enrolled in either Medicare or Medicaid.
Anderson was presented with the 2019 William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award, the prestigious MHA recognition that honors CEOs’ outstanding efforts to advocate on behalf of their hospital, their passionate commitment to their institution's mission, and the effect of their work on the Massachusetts and national healthcare community. Of equal importance is the individual's innovative and positive leadership, and their efforts to achieve healthcare access, and high-quality, safe care. 
Anderson was recognized for increasing Lawrence General’s capacity and capability despite the challenge of deriving approximately 75% of its gross patient service revenue from public payers. She has also built important provider partnerships (Lawrence General is clinically affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center), and reached out to community, education, and business leaders to develop new service lines, and to create programs addressing the social determinants of health.
As a result of Anderson’s leadership, Lawrence General Hospital was the first hospital in New England to achieve accreditation for cardiovascular excellence and was one of only four hospitals nationwide to receive the American College of Cardiologists’ HeartCare Center of Excellence award. Additionally, Lawrence General Hospital recently executed the largest capital project in its history to replace its surgical facilities and related support systems. The hospital was thrust into greater prominence and received accolades for its response to the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas line explosions.
The William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award was created to embody the spirit of William Lane, who led Holy Family Hospital in Methuen for many years. Lane received the inaugural Award in 2004 to honor his 30 years of exceptional and ardent executive leadership.

An Excellent Trustee: Baystate’s James Sadowsky

For the past 15 years, MHA has presented its Trustee Excellence in Leadership Award to an individual whose board activities on behalf of the hospital or health system they represent has been of exceptional value to healthcare. 
This year’s recipient is James P. Sadowsky of Baystate Health who received the award last Thursday from Baystate’s President & CEO Dr. Mark Keroack.
Sadowsky was credited with reinvigorating the board by injecting “passion and community commitment” to its work, Keroack said. Sadowsky continually stresses performance excellence, quality, patient safety, and patient experience as first priorities of the board, and led the trustees through what Keroack termed two of the most turbulent years in the history of Baystate Health; Sadowsky’s knowledge and successful crises management during this time positively affected the health system’s acquisitions and transitions, leadership restructuring, financial turnaround, establishment of a medical school regional campus, and launch of a Medicare accountable care organization.

Sadowsky also has been recognized for his long-term philanthropic support with a particular focus on pediatric emergency and cancer care, not only through personal donations but also by engaging other donors both for both Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Baystate Health.

A Doctor from Syria & One of the Most Influential M.D. Executives

One is a trained physician who left war-torn Syria in the midst of its civil to find a better life and the other was once lauded as the “most influential physician executive in the United States." Last Thursday they received the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Regent Awards for “Early Careerist” and “Life Time Achievement,” respectively.
Dr. Basel Tarab is the Syrian-born physician who, during medical school and upon graduation, worked under war conditions. He left Syria and his family after his work put his safety at risk and came to the U.S. in 2011. He first was employed as a research fellow at Harvard, joined Boston Children’s Hospital in 2014 as a medical interpreter and quickly became a resource within the hospital who helped staff navigate the cultural differences in caring for Middle Eastern patients and families. He also supports and mentors refugees in the Boston area. In 2015, he transitioned into his current role as a Patient Relations Specialist and is well known throughout Children’s for his ability to de-escalate the most challenging situations.
ACHE usually presents an annual “Senior Executive” award but this year the organization took a step further to recognize the life time achievement of Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund. Blumenthal was formerly the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief Health Information and Innovation Officer at Partners Healthcare System. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, helping to put in place one of the largest publicly funded infrastructure investments the U.S. ever made in such a short time period. In 2010, Modern Healthcare named him as the most influential physician executive in the U.S. Previously, Blumenthal was a practicing primary care physician, director of the Institute for Health Policy, and professor of medicine and health policy at Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners HealthCare, and Harvard Medical School. He is the author of more than 250 books and scholarly publications, including most recently, Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office. 
ACHE Regent Karen Moore, R.N., the senior vice president of operations and chief nursing officer at Lawrence General Hospital, presented the two awards at MHA’s Annual Meeting. Noting the outstanding, but widely varying achievements of the two individuals, Moore said, “I hope their efforts remind us all that we will leave a legacy as healthcare leaders.”

Congressman Richard Neal: A Health & Hospital Hero

Described as a fierce defender of Medicare and Medicaid and a person dedicated to the hard and detailed work on arcane healthcare policy issues, U.S. Representative Richard Neal (D) was presented with MHA’s 2019 Health & Hospital Hero Award last Thursday night.
“Congressman Neal has always had the back of the Massachusetts and American hospital community,” MHA President Steve Walsh said in presenting the award.
In accepting the award, Neal -- the chair of the House Ways & means Committee -- noted the success of Massachusetts in providing health coverage for 100% of children in the state and 97% of adults. He vowed to continue fighting to strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act.

100 Years of Participation

The American Hospital Association (AHA) was founded in 1898 but it did not begin accepting institutional members until 1919 – 100 years ago.
That first class of AHA hospital members totaled 55 institutions from across the U.S., including seven from Massachusetts. Last week at MHA’s annual meeting (the 83rd such MHA meeting since its founding in 1936), AHA Regional Executive Jack Berry presented the seven Bay State hospitals with awards honoring their 100 years of participation and leadership in AHA.
The seven hospitals (with, in some cases, their original names in parenthesis) are:
1. Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital (Brockton Hospital)
2. New England Baptist Hospital
3. Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital (Faulkner Hospital)
4. Baystate Franklin Medical Center (Franklin County Public Hospital)
5. Anna Jaques Hospital
6. Baystate Medical Center (Springfield Hospital)
7. UMass Memorial Medical Center (Worcester Hahnemann Hospital)
Congratulations to our members for their century of AHA participation.

Brandon Marshall Found His Purpose in the Bay State

Brandon Marshall, the 35-year-old NFL wide receiver, told attendees at MHA’s Annual Meeting that his profession is football “but I found my purpose on the campus of McLean Hospital.”
Marshall was describing the three-months he spent at McLean in Belmont Mass. during 2011 when he was diagnosed with borderline personality order. The recovery he made spurred him to become a mental health advocate who is trying to erase the stigma of mental illness.
He used a combination of humor (his unsuccessful attempt to get the Massachusetts crowd to perform the New York “J-E-T-S” chant) and heartfelt stories of the struggles he and his family faced to drive home the need for the health system to rethink its approaches to mental health.
“The number one thing you can do is invest in your team,” he said, urging attendees to ensure caregivers are themselves cared for.
He said the process of getting people into the mental health system, or what he called “onboarding” has to be compassionate and hope-filled so people know they have a chance of succeeding.
He urged anyone in the health system, from valets to physicians to understand “mental health first aid," to be able to see that people are in distress, and he noted that follow-up care or transitioning patients back into society is important.
Marshall said that the three months he spent in group and individual counseling at McLean, training on the side each day to stay in shape for the NFL, were transformational, adding, “My life’s journey, my purpose and passion, began right here in Massachusetts."
Marshall delivered his talk of Friday morning as part of the Stephen J. Hegarty Memorial Lecture Series. Hegarty was a former MHA president who was diagnosed with cancer in 1993 and succumbed to the disease. The lecture series in his name explores the philosophical, social, ethical, and economic issues related to improving patient-centered healthcare.

John LoDico, Editor