NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 12, 2013

In tribute to 7 years of extraordinary leadership

Bill Plante's North Shore
Newburyport Daily News

---- — My memory may be clogged, but I can’t remember any postponement over the past half-century when foul weather delayed an annual meeting of the Anna Jaques Hospital for weeks.

It did this year.

Scheduled for March 7, it took 20 days of recovery from intermittent storms before those attending at the Blue Ocean meeting hall in Salisbury celebrated what had been years in the making.

Seeds were planted by a gifted board of trustees and Anna Jaques President & CEO Delia O’Connor seven years earlier when George H. Ellison Jr. was elected chairman of the board.

Outgoing Chairman Ellison’s remarks were brief but rich in appreciation for what others had done, steering the involvement and cooperation of “a team of doers who stepped up and delivered when it mattered most.”

“None of it would have been realized without the level of engagement shown by the members of the board of trustees and the collective, positive energy of our employees, physicians, volunteers, board and committee members, community leaders and donors,” he had written in his program letter.

“Together they have accomplished the main goals from our strategic plan written in 2007.”

This was a night to celebrate the results of those seven years, and with one unfortunate absence, they did.

Delia O’Connor had suffered a skiing accident and was unable to attend. The good news is she’s on the mend.

Fortunately, her program notes and the presentations of others spoke proudly of what had been brought to fruition.

In her letter, she reported in part:

“As some Massachusetts hospitals continued the trend of consolidation, Anna Jaques strengthened our clinical affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a Boston academic medical center and major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, to bring sub-specialists to our local community and enhance the collaboration on certain programs between our hospitals.

“We also invested $15.8 million in capital projects to modernize the hospital campus and become a nearly all private room hospital ... “

She noted that Anna Jaques “ ... had received several awards and recognition, including being named a Boston Business Journal’s ‘Best Places to Work’ for the second time.

“In FY12 we made strides in patient satisfaction, with Press Ganey scores hitting about the 90th percentile in certain quarters in the Birth Center, Emergency Department and Ambulatory Surgery. Results are being realized in improved clinical outcomes and our ‘core measures’ scores are at or above state averages, with many of the indicators now at 100 percent.”

It was the concluding paragraph in her report, however, that spoke to the heart of contributions made by outgoing chairman of the board George S. Ellison Jr. for his seven years of leadership that signaled the essence of success.

“George came to lead the Anna Jaques board of trustees at the urging of the medical staffing in 2006. His leadership was what Anna Jaques needed to help steer their hospital’s turnaround. He has been the hospital’s biggest champion and occasional tough critic, and we are a terrific place for patients to receive care partly because of him.”

“Partly” says it all because those who serve what needs be done at and by the Anna Jaques Hospital are a legion in common cause.

Ellison’s response was brief but rich in appreciation for what others had done, stressing the involvement and cooperation of “a team of doers who stepped up and delivered when it mattered most.”

“None of this would have been realized without the level of engagement shown by the members of the board of trustees and the collective positive energy of our employees, physicians, volunteers, board and committee members, community leaders and donors. Together, they have accomplished the main goals from our strategic plan written in 2007.”

That may be read as routine commentary at such meetings, but not by those close to what has happened during his seven extraordinary years of accomplishments.

As for what lies ahead, David J. LaFlamme of the board of trustees has been chosen chairman.

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Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist. His e-mail address is plantejr@comcast.net.