Execs: Mongan’s legacy lives on
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.”