Healthcare Business News

Trio named to hall of fame

Gavin, Groner, Mountz honored for achievements

By Gregg Blesch
Posted: January 28, 2008 - 12:01 am ET

Three healthcare innovators have been chosen by a panel of industry judges as the newest members of the Health Care Hall of Fame.

This year’s inductees are two founders of VHA, Pat Groner and Wade Mountz, and the late Sister Ignatia Gavin, a pioneer in alcoholism treatment. They will join 77 other members in the hall, sponsored by Modern Healthcare.

In the 1970s, Mountz and Groner were among a handful of executives who conceived Voluntary Hospitals of America, now VHA, as a way for not-for-profit hospitals to match the buying power of for-profit companies. Both also helped start Multi-Mutual Insurance Cos., an offshore company formed to provide malpractice insurance to hospitals.

Mountz, 83, served as VHA’s first chairman, as well as two subsequent terms, and he was chosen as acting chief executive officer in 1988 to help the organization recover from financial losses stemming from its rapid moves into managed care. He retired in 1987 as vice chairman and CEO of NKC in Louisville, Ky., a holding company for Norton Hospital and Kosair Children’s Hospital, now part of Norton Healthcare.

Groner, 87, who was CEO of Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., for 34 years before retiring in 1983, also earned respect for his work developing employee incentive programs to improve productivity and reduce costs, a topic he wrote about in a book published in 1977.

Sister Gavin, of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine in Ohio, bent rules to bring alcoholics into the hospital when she worked in the admitting office of St. Thomas Hospital in Akron in the 1920s and 1930s, a time when alcohol abuse was considered a character flaw rather than an illness. She created a safe haven at St. Thomas for their care and counseling, working with the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1952, Sister Gavin established the Rosary Hall alcoholism unit at St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Cleveland. She retired in 1965 and died in 1966.

The three will be honored at a ceremony March 9 at the Fairmont Chicago hotel in conjunction with the American College of Healthcare Executives’ 2008 Congress on Healthcare Leadership.

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