MGMA-ACMPE Awards Honor Exceptional Practice Management Professionals

The MGMA presented its annual national awards to medical practice professionals who made outstanding contributions to the profession.

During the 2010 Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Annual Conference, MGMA and its certification and standard-setting body, the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE), presented their annual national awards to medical practice professionals who made outstanding contributions to the profession. The award recipients are:

Harry J. Harwick Lifetime Achievement Award — sponsored by The Harford

Thomas H. Stearns, FACMPE, vice president Medical Practices Services, State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Co.

The Harry J. Harwick Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest form of recognition bestowed by the Associations. It goes to an individual who has made nationally recognized contributions to health care administration, delivery and/or education in his/her career, advancing the field of medical practice management.

Stearns is vice president of medical practices services for State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Co., Brentwood, Tenn. He has been an active MGMA member since 1977, joined ACMPE in 1980 and served as ACMPE Board chair. Stearns is engaged in the community — from mentoring and supporting staff members in their quest for additional education and ACMPE certification to supporting and employing disadvantaged individuals in the practices where he has worked. Nominators described Stearns’ lengthy list of contributions, which have reached thousands of industry members, as unique and ecumenical.

Throughout a 40-year career, Stearns has led several local, state and national organizations, and he took a leadership role in educating and preparing professionals in 30 states about the benefits and risks associated with electronic health records (EHRs). He developed the Physician’s Leadership Institute to help doctors learn the ropes of business management and established practice management boot camps for new and experienced professionals.

Medical Practice Executive of the Year Award

C. Ross Berry, MBA, CMPE, chief executive officer, Solaris Heart & Vascular

This award recognizes a medical group practice executive who has demonstrated within the last three years a noteworthy achievement of exceptional leadership and management proficiency to enhance strategic and operational effectiveness of healthcare delivery in his or her practice and community.

Berry created and implemented a five-year strategic plan that resulted in tremendous growth for his group. Under his guidance, the practice grew from a $6 million practice with four physicians to a $15 million practice with 25 providers and 67 support personnel. When he assumed his role, the group had two locations and one health system. It now has four locations and operates within three health systems and five hospitals.

Physician Executive of the Year Award

Adam D. Singer, MD, chief executive officer and chief medical officer, IPC The Hospitalist Company, Inc.

This award recognizes a physician executive in a medical group practice who has exhibited outstanding leadership to achieve exceptional medical group performance in the delivery of healthcare in his or her practice and community through personal example and collaborative team management.

Singer designed practice management computer software to keep the key members of patients' healthcare team in synch. Today, IPC employs more than 1,400 providers practicing in 21 states and is one of the largest players in the field of hospitalist medicine.

Legislative Liaison of the Year Award

Diane M. Bristol, administrator, Midland OB-GYN Associates, PC

The award recognizes a medical practice professional who has provided outstanding leadership in the education and motivation of MGMA members through grassroots involvement on legislative and regulatory issues of importance to medical group practices.

Bristol became active in legislative issues in 1986, when a rise in malpractice insurance rates caused several companies—including the one her practice was affiliated with—to pull out of the marketplace.

Bristol testified on issues of relevance in healthcare and rallied against the imposed Medicare cuts over the last several years, keeping up-to-date with breaking news and educating others with the information.

Fred Graham Award for Innovation in Improving Community Health

Mercy Health System, Janesville, WI.

MGMA and ACMPE bestow the Fred Graham Award on a health care organization that has developed activities and solutions to advance the effectiveness of health care delivery and improve community health.

While many in the profession recognize the severity of the nurse shortage, Mercy Health Systems in Janesville, Wis., is chipping away at the problem. Winners of this year’s Fred Graham Award for Innovation in Improving Community Health, Mercy Health System started the Health Occupations Academy at Janesville High School to bridge the gap between the local high school and college courses for aspiring nursing assistants.

In light of lengthy waiting lists for nursing schools and credentialing programs, and the dearth of these professionals in healthcare settings, the Academy provides 24 students annually with a fast-track to become certified nursing assistants or expedite their journey to nursing school. The investment is especially important since industry experts expect the nursing shortage to reach one million by the end of this decade.

Edward B. Stevens Article of the Year Award

Cordell Mack, MBA, PT, partner, Health Care Futures and Craig D Pederson, MHA, MBA, partner, Health Care Futures

The award recognizes a medical practice professional who has made a substantial contribution to the body of published literature to foster more effective and efficient healthcare delivery in the field of medical practice management.

This year’s winners Cordell J. Mack, MBA, PT, partner, and Craig D. Pederson, MHA, MBA, partner, Health Care Futures, Edina, Minn., wrote “Together… yet separate. How your medical group can achieve integration with a hospital—without hospital employment” in the August 2009 issue of MGMA Connexion magazine.

This news article is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by HCPLive) from materials provided by the MGMA.