MHA's Annual Meeting, and more...

Baystate Health President & CEO Mark Keroack to Chair MHA Board

Mark A. Keroack, M.D., president & CEO of Baystate Health, is the 78th Chair of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association Board of Trustees. He succeeds Kate Walsh, president & CEO of Boston Medical Center.

In his inaugural address, Keroack (pictured below with Walsh) discussed his deep interest in the major policy proposals and other efforts now underway to advance healthcare both statewide and nationally. He also acknowledged that many of these important endeavors are currently overshadowed by disruptive challenges buffeting hospitals, health systems and other care providers.

“We must reconnect with our core purpose, to remind both our team members and our communities of who we are and what we have always been,” Keroack said. “We need to remind ourselves of our history of being there for our communities for generations, reliably serving all those who need our help, innovating, and caring for the person and not just the disease.  And as we step up, as we find our voice, I believe we will learn something about ourselves and what we share in common.”

Both Keroack and MHA President & CEO Steve Walsh noted the enormous threat to the healthcare system posed by a possible ballot initiative to require rigid, one-size-fits-all nurse staffing ratios.

“Treating every nurse and patient as a number in a ratio will hurt the communities we serve and be disastrous for care quality and access,” said Steve Walsh. “The proposed law does not consider the other clinical staff members that are critical components of a patient care team, or the flexibility medical professionals need to make split-second decisions. It would increase emergency department wait times, and force hospitals to cut programs, services, and beds. Some of our most vulnerable community hospitals would have no choice but to eliminate units, or close entirely. It’s a terrible idea that would decimate the Massachusetts healthcare ecosystem.” 

At Thursday’s annual meeting, MHA's board leadership team was announced for 2018-2019. The officers are:

Chair: Mark A. Keroack, M.D., MPH, president & CEO, Baystate Health
Chair-elect: Bruce S. Auerbach, M.D., FACEP, president & CEO, Sturdy Memorial  Hospital
Treasurer:  Joseph A. “Jody” White, MBA, FACHE, president & CEO, Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health
Secretary: Eric W. Dickson, M.D., MHCM, FACEP, president & CEO, UMass Memorial Health Care
Immediate Past Chair: Kate E. Walsh, MPH, president & CEO, Boston Medical Center
Past Chair Most Recently Retired: Keith A. Hovan, president & CEO, Southcoast Health
President (ex officio): Steve Walsh, president & CEO, MHA

MHA board members are:
Maureen Banks, FACHE, MBA, MS, R.N., COO, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and president, Spaulding Hospital for Continuing Medical Care Cambridge & Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod; Kevin B. Churchwell, M.D., E.V.P., Health Affairs & COO, Boston Children’s Hospital; Philip M. Cormier, CEO, Beverly Hospital and Northeast Health System; Ruth Ellen Fitch, Esq., trustee, Boston Medical Center; Andrew S. Freed, corporator, Strategic Planning Committee member, MelroseWakefield Healthcare and CEO, Virtual, Inc.; Joanne Fucile, R.N., MSN, CRRN, president, Organization of Nurse Leaders and VP, Operations & Director, Nursing, Spaulding Hospital for Continuing Medical Care Cambridge; Gene E. Green, M.D., MBA, president & CEO, South Shore Health System; Michael L. Gustafson, M.D., MBA; president, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital; Peter J. Healy, MHA, president, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Kim Hollon, FACHE, president & CEO, Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital; Edward J. Kelly, president & CEO, Milford Regional Medical Center; Michael K. Lauf, MBA, president & CEO, Cape Cod Healthcare and Cape Cod Hospital; Joanne Marqusee, president & CEO, Cooley Dickinson Health; David E. Phelps, MBA, president & CEO, Berkshire Health Systems; Christine C. Schuster, R.N., MBA, president & CEO, Emerson Hospital; Michael J. Sheehy, M.D., chief of population health & analytics, Reliant Medical Group; Kevin Tabb, M.D., CEO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; David F. Torchiana, M.D., president & CEO, Partners HealthCare System; Michael Wagner, M.D., FACP; chief physician executive, Wellforce; Deborah K. Weymouth, MBA, FACHE, president & CEO, UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital; Michael J. Widmer, retired past president, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation; Louis J. Woolf, president & CEO, Hebrew SeniorLife.

Signature Health’s Hollon Receives Lane Award

Kim Hollon, president & CEO of Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital, was presented with the prestigious 2018 William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award from MHA at the association’s annual meeting last Thursday.

Each year MHA publicly acknowledges one senior hospital or health system executive who demonstrates outstanding efforts on behalf of his or her organization, passionate commitment to its mission, and outstanding work in the broader healthcare community. The Lane Award winner must also demonstrate innovative and positive leadership, and extraordinary advocacy to achieve healthcare access and high-quality, safe care for all.

Boston Medical Center President & CEO Kate Walsh, who served as MHA Board Chair over the past year, presented the award to Hollon.

Hollon is credited with building his system’s pediatric, oncology, and orthopedic services; markedly reducing the hospital’s sentinel events by more than 80%; building employee morale through benchmarking and recognition programs, as well as instituting wellness programs for staff; and partnering across the care continuum to improve the health of the communities Signature Healthcare serves.

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.

Governor Baker to Tim Gens: “You’ve made a big difference”

Tim Gens, the longtime executive vice president of MHA who stepped down from his post last year due to health reasons, was awarded the annual Stephen J. Hegarty Memorial Award at MHA’s annual meeting on Friday. Governor Charlie Baker (left in photo with Gens) presented the award.

The Hegarty award is named after the late Steve Hegarty, who was president of MHA from 1986 to 1995 and a strong advocate for high-quality, accessible healthcare.  Governor Baker, who was the state’s Health & Human Services Secretary during Hegarty’s time at MHA, recalled MHA’s former leader with great affection for his ability to work collaboratively and form consensus on the important healthcare issues of the day. Baker said that Gens’ important work and talents mirrored those of the much-admired Hegarty.

In presenting the award, Baker said to Gens, “In the world we live in today where virtually everything seems to be at sword points – which makes it really hard for anyone to accomplish much of anything – the legacy that you have created and that you leave behind for all of us to build on is extraordinary ... I’m here because I really wanted to be able to look at you and say God bless you for all you’ve done because you’ve made a big difference.”

Two Outstanding Trustees of Note

In recognition of the importance of hospital trustees, since 2005, MHA has presented the Trustee Excellence in Leadership Award to honor significant contributions by a trustee leader whose professional achievements have been of exceptional value to healthcare.  Nominations are made by any MHA member hospital or health system.

This year, two trustees received the award: Cooley Dickinson Health Care’s Sanford “Sandy” Belden, who has served on the board since 2008 and as chair from 2015 to 2017; and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham’s Christoph Hoffmann, a longtime trustee and current member of the hospital’s Board of Advisors. Belden is the retired president & CEO of a community banking system in New York state, and Hoffman is a retired executive of Raytheon.  The CEO’s of Cooley Dickinson and BID Needham, Joanne Marqusee and John Fogarty, respectively, presented the awards.

Of Belden, Marqusee praised, "Sandy’s patience, wisdom, knowledge, ability to bring board, medical staff and administrators together, openness to new ideas and constructive debate, generosity, and advocacy. He has the highest level of integrity, makes everybody feel heard and respected, and has the courage to identify the elephant in the room."

Fogarty said Hoffmann "instills a focus on metrics and performance improvement in both quality of care and finance while guiding efforts to modernize hospital facilities." Hoffmann and his wife Susan, a long-time hospital volunteer, have also set a positive example of generosity with their planned giving, focusing their philanthropy on gastroenterology and digestive care.

Majority Leader Mariano Presented “Health & Hospital Hero” Award

MHA President & CEO Steve Walsh presented Massachusetts House Majority Leader Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) with MHA’s Health & Hospital Hero Award last Thursday, citing Mariano’s involvement in “every major piece of healthcare legislation this state has produced” as well as his qualities as an educator.

Mariano (left in the photo with Walsh) was elected to the House in 1992, served as House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Financial Services (previously known as the Joint Committee on Insurance), and has been Majority Leader since 2011. Walsh noted that Mariano was instrumental in delivering the Chapter 58 reform law of 2006, Chapter 305 in 2008, the Cost Containment provisions of Chapter 288 in 2010, and the payment and delivery system reforms of Chapter 224 that Walsh drafted as chairman of the Health Care Finance Committee in 2012.

Walsh said that although Mariano is known as “a legislator’s legislator,” his influence extends beyond the nuts and bolts of the lawmaking process.

“At his heart, Ron Mariano is a teacher, an educator,” Walsh said. “If you are in the State House and choose a focus on healthcare as I and other legislators did, then Ron will sit with you – and your staff – and explain to you every intricate problem you may encounter. If you want to learn, he will explain.  He will sit with you for hours.  His knowledge of what you in the healthcare community do each day is profound.”

Congratulations ACHE Award Winners!

ACHE of Massachusetts – an independent chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives – presented two awards at MHA’s Annual Meeting.

This year the Early Careerist Healthcare Executive Award was presented to Zachary Pepper-Cunningham – the senior marketing enterprise associate for Athenahealth.

The Senior-Level Healthcare Executive Regent’s Award was presented to Maureen Bisognano, president emerita and senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Bisognano previously served as IHI’s president for five years and EVP and COO for 15 years.

Karen Moore, R.N., the senior vice president for operations and chief nursing officer at Lawrence General Hospital, presented the awards. In her remarks about Bisognano, Moore said, “I am especially pleased this year to be recognizing a nurse.  As we envision the role of nursing in the future and clarify nursing value in the present I want to call attention and recognize the tremendous accomplishments of nursing leaders, especially in Massachusetts, who have been working effectively for years to support systems improvements and consistent humanity at the sharp end of care.”

DeLeo Indicates House Healthcare Reform Bill Due This Month

The State House News last week quoted House Speaker Bob DeLeo as saying he expects a House healthcare cost-control bill on the floor by the end of June.

The Senate passed its sweeping reform bill last November but the House effort was slowed with the untimely passing of House Health Care Financing Committee Chairman Peter Kocot in February.

Last year’s Senate proposal contained a benchmark for commercial hospital spending far below the existing statewide total healthcare spending benchmark of 3.1%. MHA said at the time that separating out hospital spending when hospitals have been driven to coordinate intertwined healthcare entities encompassing all parts of the healthcare system appeared to run counter to the state’s own “global payment” or “accountable care” models based on total medical expense.

Speaking broadly about the potential House bill, DeLeo said he wanted it to provide “for the most neediest amongst us in terms of healthcare while at the same time making sure that we take a look at our community hospitals, our health centers and the healthcare system in general as one of the major economic drivers we have in the state."

Staying Prepared to Prevent Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches

Friday, July 20; 8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
MHA Conference Center, Burlington, Mass.

With just one quick action, hackers can access a wealth of healthcare data and destabilize IT systems. Given the significant repercussions of a cyber attack, the healthcare sector needs to constantly evaluate its vulnerabilities to ensure that systems are secure. As recent events have made clear, protecting information isn’t easy. At this July conference, MHA will provide an overview of the vulnerabilities in healthcare and the various strategies that organizations should have in place to protect their information. This conference will include, among other items, a hospital case study of a recent attack and a legal review of how hospitals should be preparing. Confirmed speakers are John Riggi, senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk at the American Hospital Association; David S. Szabo, partner of Locke Lord; and Christopher Novak, director of the Verizon Threat Research Advisory Center.  Mark your calendars for this important program and check back at MHA’s Education Department’s Upcoming Programs page for more information on this and other offerings.

John LoDico, Editor