Ex­ecs: Mon­gan’s legacy lives on

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Jaimy Lee

Dr. James Mon­gan, a long­time health­care leader who in­flu­enced health pol­icy at the state and fed­eral level, died of cancer May 3. He was 69.

Mon­gan served as pres­i­dent and CEO of Bos­ton-based Part­ners Health­Care Sys­tem for six years un­til his re­tire­ment in 2009.

He worked in Wash­ing­ton early in his ca­reer, first for the U.S. Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Fi­nance and then later as a deputy as­sis­tant sec­re­tary for health and an as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of the do­mes­tic pol­icy staff at the White House dur­ing Pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. Mon­gan also served as pres­i­dent of Mas­sachusetts Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Bos­ton and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Tru­man Med­i­cal Cen­ters in Kansas City, Mo. (See re­lated editorial, p. 22.)

“He just had an abil­ity to syn­the­size what was re­ally im­por­tant, to crisply go to the heart of ev­ery mat­ter and to lay out what the is­sues were, what the al­ter­na­tives were and what the key ar­gu­ments were,” said Karen Davis, pres­i­dent of the Com­mon­wealth Fund. “He was very ef­fec­tive at that, build­ing con­sen­sus by help­ing peo­ple un­der­stand what the choices were, what was at stake, what the im­pli­ca­tions were and com­ing to­gether around a re­al­is­tic way for­ward.”

Mon­gan was the chair of the Com­mon­wealth Fund’s Com­mis­sion on a High Per­for­mance Health Sys­tem af­ter join­ing the board of direc­tors in 2006.

“His lead­er­ship of the com­mis­sion was in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing the in­for­ma­tion and anal­y­sis that con­trib­uted to the en­act­ment of health re­form na­tion­ally in 2010,” added Davis, who said she first met Mon­gan in 1977 when they both worked for the Carter ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Mon­gan was listed in the Mod­ern Health­care/Mod­ern Physi­cian list of the 50 Most Pow­er­ful Physi­cian Ex­ec­u­tives in Health­care four times, most re­cently in 2008, when he was ranked No. 1. He also made Mod­ern Health­care’s list of the 100 Most Pow­er­ful Peo­ple in Health­care four times, most re­cently in 2008.

He gra­ciously ac­cepted the award for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in 2010 when Kennedy was in­ducted posthu­mously into the Mod­ern Health­care Health Care Hall of Fame at a cer­e­mony in Chicago.

“He was a re­mark­able vi­sion­ary who com­mit­ted his life to fight for ac­cess and cov­er­age of the high­est qual­ity of health­care,” said Dr. Gary Got­tlieb, pres­i­dent and CEO of Part­ners. “Each of the jobs he had … was com­mit­ted to try­ing to fig­ure out ways to best pro­mote that ac­cess and cre­ate the high­est qual­ity of care.”

Mon­gan was a “re­mark­able vi­sion­ary.”

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