Suffering a loss
James Mongan’s death removes a wise and caring presence
We note with sadness the passing of Dr. James Mongan, who died last week after a long struggle with cancer. His departure is a loss for the healthcare industry and for intelligent and compassionate health policy. In addition to holding the titles of president and CEO of Partners HealthCare System in Boston, president of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and executive director of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., Mongan was influential in federal and state health reform efforts.
He served as a U.S. Senate Finance Committee staffer and in the Carter administration as deputy assistant secretary for health, and then at the White House as associate director of the domestic policy staff.
Mongan also was a major advocate of the Massachusetts health reform law, which has brought coverage to about 98% of the state’s population.
Mongan’s low-key and analytical approach, his dedication to problem-solving and willingness to compromise have become scarce commodities. Today’s public figures are more likely to advance by propagating outlandish conspiracy theories and working assiduously at dismantling social insurance programs, especially in the healthcare realm. And Mongan possessed keen insight on health reform.
The System, a study of the Clinton reform effort by Haynes Johnson and the late David Broder, recounts how Mongan years ago assessed the difficulties: “Politicians of both parties from the courthouse to the White House have convinced Americans and American business that they are staggering under an oppressive burden of taxation that saps most productive effort. Although there is little evidence from other countries to support this belief, it is widely and deeply held. This economic, social and political climate fosters a self- centeredness, a focus more on the individual’s own needs than the community’s needs.”
Mongan was right—then and now.
On a happier note, we’re pleased to report that Modern Healthcare won nine editorial excellence awards in this year’s American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors competition. The magazine and its online publications earned more citations than any other publication.
The judges gave a Gold Award for Best Single News Article to Joe Carlson’s Aug. 2, 2010 Cover Story. It examined how hospitals fail to make money on operations but still gain profits. Our daily newsletter on information technology, Health IT
Strategist, won the Gold Award for Best E-newsletter. The Gold Award for Best Online News Coverage went to ModernHealth care.com for coverage of the passage of healthcare reform.
Modern Healthcare earned five silver awards. One was for Best Feature Article, which went to Gregg Blesch for his May 24, 2010 Cover Story on environmental authorities cracking down on hospital waste. Another for Best Legislative/Government Article went to finance reporter Melanie Evans for her Feb. 22, 2010 Cover Story on the languid flow of federal stimulus money to healthcare.
The magazine’s Survey of Executive Opinions on Key Information Technology Issues (March 1, 2010) won the Silver Award for Best Original Research, and Modern Healthcare’s By The Numbers annual statistical compendium received the Silver Award for Best Special Supplement. Evans’ “Of Interest” Finance Blog picked up the Silver Award for Best Blog. Finally, the magazine’s website, ModernHealthcare.com, earned the Bronze Award for Best Website. These awards are a testament to the dedication of Modern Health
care’s editorial staff and its superior coverage of the industry.