The Medical Group Management Association has picked Thomas L. Adams, leader of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin, to be its next chief executive.
Adams, 45, will assume the job of executive vice president/chief executive officer Aug. 1.
MGMA President Donald J. Lloyd said Adams has the right blend of healthcare knowledge, government relations experience and public relations savvy. Plus, he's an upbeat person who gets along with physicians, Lloyd said.
Adams, named one of the 25 most influential people in Wisconsin by Madison (Wis.) Magazine in 1994, serves on an advisory board to the American Medical Association's executive vice president.
"When he walks into a room, he's like a ray of sunshine. Here's a man who genuinely enjoys what he does," Lloyd said. "Clearly, in these days of transforming healthcare, we need that."
Adams said he wants to make the MGMA a major supplier of medical information, fight to have the association heard in public policy and meet a growing demand for education.
The MGMA's membership of 18,700 healthcare administrators, representing nearly 160,000 physicians, has been growing at about 10% annually.
"Five years ago less than half the physicians in Wisconsin were practicing in a group setting. Today, 82% are practicing in group settings," Adams said. "What we have to do as part of the MGMA mission is make certain that the people that are running group practices have the type of educational opportunities" they need, he said.
Adams also said he's not afraid to raise dues or fees to start new programs.
"I wanted to find a situation where I could take an organization and make it into one of the outstanding associations in America. I think MGMA has that potential," he said.
Michael Wilson, president of Dean Medical Center in Madison, called Adams a "high-impact" leader. He cited a statewide program to expand access to physicians for low-income Medicare patients in the late 1980s and a partnership between the medical society and the Wisconsin Medical Group Management Association that predates cooperation between the MGMA and the AMA on the national level.
The Englewood, Colo.-based MGMA has 150 employees and an $18 million annual budget. Neither the MGMA or Adams would disclose Adams' salary.
Adams succeeds Frederick J. Wenzel, who has served as a transitional chief executive since October 1993.
Adams served as director of governmental affairs for both the North Carolina Medical Society and the American Society of Anesthesiologists before he assumed leadership of the Wisconsin medical society in 1986.