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Biggest Health Challenges: Flu, Polio, Wars — And Now Costs

This article is more than 7 years old.
Massachusetts General Hospital president Peter L. Slavin (MGH)
Massachusetts General Hospital president Peter L. Slavin (MGH)

The Massachusetts Hospital Association just sent over word about its June 7 annual meeting, including the news that Massachusetts General Hospital president Peter L. Slavin is the association's new chair of the board of trustees.

It included this:

In his inaugural speech that called for the hospital community to unite during the healthcare reform efforts now under way in the state, Slavin said “For more than 200 years, the hospital community in this state has tackled our society's most significant health care challenges — influenza epidemics, polio epidemics, and world wars to name a few. I would argue that perhaps the most significant threat to the future health of the people of Massachusetts is the rising cost of healthcare itself. We must tackle this challenge head on just like the others. To do so is our greatest challenge, our solemn responsibility, and a remarkable opportunity for us to lead."

My first reaction: Flu, polio, war — and health costs? Doesn't that list end a little anti-climactically? (I'm reminded of the chorus "For God, For Country and For Yale," cited as "the outstanding single anti-climax in the English language.") On the other hand, if health costs are crowding schools and safety and more out of public budgets, then perhaps — ? If costs are keeping people from care, as today's poll suggests? Readers, thoughts?

For Massachusetts medical insiders, here are the new MHA officers:

Chairman: Peter L. Slavin, M.D., President, Massachusetts General Hospital

Chair-elect: Patrick L. Muldoon, FACHE, President & CEO, HealthAlliance Hospitals

Trasurer: Michael V. Sack, FACHE, President & CEO, Hallmark Health Corporation

Secretary: Peter J. Holden, President & CEO, Jordan Hospital

Immediate Past Chair: Normand E. Deschene, FACHE, President & CEO, Lowell General Hospital

Immediate Past Chair Most Recently Retired: Ellen M. Zane, MA, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, Tufts Medical Center

Trustees-at-large

Bruce S. Auerbach, M.D., FACEP, V.P. & Chief, Ambulatory & E.R. Services, Sturdy Memorial Hospital
John M. Lowe, III, Ph.D., MS, Trustee, Emerson Hospital
David E. Phelps, MBA, President & CEO, Berkshire Health Systems
Kathy Schuler, R.N., MS, President-Elect, Organization of Nurse Leaders- Massachusetts & Rhode Island, and V.P., Patient Care Services & CNO, Winchester Hospital
Kevin F. Smith, President & CEO, Winchester Hospital
Andrei Soran, MSM, CEO, MetroWest Medical Center
David E. Storto, President, Partners Continuing Care
Kevin Tabb, M.D., President & CEO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Dianne J. Anderson, R.N., MS, President & CEO, Lawrence General Hospital
Howard R. Grant, JD, M.D., President & CEO, Lahey Clinic
Patricia L. Hannon, FACHE, President & CEO, New England Baptist Hospital
Michael K. Lauf, MBA, President & CEO, Cape Cod Healthcare, Inc.
Joel M. Rudin, CEO, New England Rehabilitation Hospital
Delia Vetter, Senior Director of Benefits and Programs, EMC Corporation – Other Field Expert
Neal J. Curtin, Esq., Trustee, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc.
John R. Fernandez, President & CEO, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary
Charles D. Gijanto, President, Baystate Regional Markets, Baystate Franklin Medical Center, and Baystate Mary Lane Hospital
Keith A. Hovan, President & CEO, Southcoast Hospitals Group
Edward H. Moore, President & CEO, Harrington Hospital
Francis M. Saba, CEO, Milford Regional Healthcare System, Inc.
Peter W. Siersma, M.D., Trustee, Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Kate Walsh, MPH, President & CEO, Boston Medical Center
Lynn Nicholas, FACHE, president & CEO, MHA

The Board also elected the chairs of each of MHA’s standing committees:

Bruce S. Auerbach, M.D., FACEP, V.P. & Chief, Ambulatory & E.R. Services, Sturdy Memorial Hospital – Chair, Clinical Issues Advisory Council
Charles D. Gijanto, President, Baystate Regional Markets, Baystate Franklin Medical Center, and Baystate Mary Lane Hospital – Chair, Standing Committee on Finance
Andrei Soran, MSM, CEO, MetroWest Medical Center – Chair, Standing Committee on Public Affairs
John M. Lowe, III, Ph.D., MS, Trustee, Emerson Hospital – Chair, Trustee Advisory Council

This program aired on June 11, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.

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