Press Release

David E. Phelps Receives MHA's William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award

January 28, 2022 

Award is presented to one healthcare leader each year who exemplifies outstanding leadership, advocacy, and commitment

BURLINGTON, MA – January 28, 2021 – David E. Phelps, former president & CEO of Berkshire Health Systems (BHS), has received the prestigious 2022 William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award from the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA). Each year, MHA recognizes one hospital or health system leader for their exceptional efforts on behalf of their organization and the healthcare system at-large.

“It is our honor to present Dave Phelps with the Lane Award. His leadership has helped solidify Berkshire Health Systems as a strong, trusted resource for the people of Western Massachusetts,” said MHA President & CEO Steve Walsh. “Dave’s legacy extends far beyond the region, as he has been a guiding light for what community hospitals can accomplish throughout his decades of service.”

The William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award was established in 2004 to embody the spirit of William Lane, who served as a hospital CEO for more than 30 years and was among the most ardent advocates for hospitals in the commonwealth’s history.

Phelps recently concluded his service as President and CEO of BHS after more than 31 years with the organization, including 28 as its chief executive. In presenting the award, MHA highlighted his long track record of strategic investments, his ability to adapt to the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, and his role as a relationship-builder among clinicians, public officials, local organizations, and other healthcare providers.  

Among the most notable investments spearheaded by Phelps is the Berkshire Medical Center Cancer Center at the hospital’s Hillcrest Campus in Pittsfield, a member of the Dana Farber Cancer Care Collaborative.

“Dave took the helm of BHS at a time when it was under enormous financial stress and intense scrutiny by regulatory agencies. He was successful in calming both lenders and governmental oversight bodies with the commitment that BHS would recover, perform as they expected, and achieve the best in patient care and financial strength for the future,” said Timothy Doherty, long-time former Chair of the BHS Board of Trustees. “And he delivered on those promises.” 

Under Phelps’s leadership, BHS’s two inpatient facilities, Berkshire Medical Center (BMC) and Fairview Hospital, have received outstanding national recognition. In the past 10 years, BMC has been recognized as a Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence, a Truven Top 100 Hospital, and one of Healthgrades Top 100 Hospitals in America out of more than 4,000 hospitals. In addition, BMC has been recognized as a Leapfrog Top Teaching Hospital for the past two years and has earned a Leapfrog Grade “A” for Safety for nine of the past ten years. Fairview Hospital was recognized as a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital by The Chartis Group in 2021 and consistently ranks among the top 10 percent of the nation’s hospitals by Healthgrades for Outstanding Patient Experience. Both hospitals also earn high marks from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with five stars overall for Fairview and four stars overall for BMC.

“The scale of the transformation that Dave has achieved at our organization is a testament to his selfless leadership, bright vision, and tireless advocacy for the people of the Berkshires. There is no way to adequately thank him for all he has done to care for Berkshire County,” said Bart Raser, current Chair of the BHS Board of Trustees.

Phelps was nominated for the Lane Award by current BHS President & CEO Darlene Rodowicz and BHS Board Chair Bart Raser.

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About the William L. Lane Award
The William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award was established to embody the spirit of William Lane, who led Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, MA, for many years. The award recognizes an individual who has delivered professional excellence, outstanding achievements, and innovative accomplishments within their capacity as a healthcare leader. Recipients have also proven their extraordinary compassion in caring for patients, success in overcoming barriers, and exemplary advocacy on behalf of hospitals, patients, and the healthcare system.

About Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association 
The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) serves as the unified voice for Massachusetts hospitals and healthcare providers. Founded in 1936, MHA represents over 100 hospitals, healthcare partners, and patients across the state. Through advocacy, education, and collaboration, MHA’s mission is to improve the overall health of the commonwealth and support providers’ efforts to offer high-quality, affordable, and accessible care. For further information about MHA, please contact communications@mhalink.org

About Berkshire Health Systems
Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) is a private, nonprofit healthcare organization serving Berkshire County. The approximately 126,000 residents of this the western-most county of Massachusetts depend on BHS and its network of affiliates for a wide array of health and wellness services. BHS is the largest employer in the region,  with more than 4,000 employees. Its network of facilities includes Berkshire Medical Center (BMC), the BMC Hillcrest Campus, Fairview Hospital, Berkshire Visiting Nurse Association, and more than 30 BHS provider clinics throughout the county.