Jessee starts countdown
Retiring MGMA CEO touts organization’s growth
William Jessee, president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association, said he had an easy answer as to why the fall of 2011 seems like the right time to retire from the position he has held since 1999. On Sept. 25 next year, Jessee will turn 65, and—as he noted—become a Medicare recipient.
Last week, Jessee announced his decision to step down as leader of the Englewood, Colo.-based association that represents 21,500 physicians and administrators who run medical group practices. That membership number is about 26% higher than it was in 2000, the year after Jessee took over as the association’s chief. And the sizable increase is something Jessee considers to be one of his most significant contributions during his tenure.
“We’re bigger,” Jessee said. “We certainly have a higher profile in terms of public policy; our Washington office has done a good job raising the profile,” he added. “The industry we serve has undergone a lot of changes. There has been a huge amount of consolidation of practices, and some have been acquired by hospitals,” he said, adding later that “the time of onesies and twosies is over.”
As membership for the MGMA— and its certification body, the American College of Medical Practice Executives—has increased considerably, so has its bottom line. The organization reported total revenue of $26.8 million for 2008, a slight increase from the $26.5 million it reported in the previous year, according to the MGMA’s 2008 Internal Revenue Service Form 990. In 1999, the organization’s total revenue was $22.1 million, according to the MGMA.
Back then, the group represented about 20,000 members, but this was about the time the group transitioned from organizational to individual membership, according to MGMA spokeswoman Liz Johnson. The following year, the group underwent a complete database overhaul and cleaned the database of about 3,000 members who were not accounted for properly. In 2000, the MGMA represented 17,000 members, which the group said is a more accurate figure.
Forrest “Dean” Danner, who began his oneyear term as MGMA board chairman last October, said the MGMA had financial problems when Jessee began his role. “We were not seeing our membership growing,” Danner added. “He immediately put in a program of growth and development,” which Danner said “turned the organization around in two to three years.”
Jessee says 2009 was the greatest challenge he faced.