The American Hospital Association plans to jump into the information age with a new for-profit subsidiary to sell healthcare data and information to its hospital members and others.
Plans to create the new company were mentioned in an internal association memorandum that also announced a major restructuring of the AHA's senior management ranks.
Most notably, the AHA has promoted Jonathan Lord, M.D., as its new chief operating officer, making him the association's No. 2 executive. Lord, 42, was the AHA's senior adviser for clinical affairs.
Richard Wade, the AHA's senior vice president for communications, declined to disclose details about the new for-profit data subsidiary. The AHA is expected to unveil the new business within about six weeks.
The subsidiary would be the association's third. The others are AHA Services, which operates the association's other for-profit businesses, including its publishing company; and the American Organization of Nurse Executives, a not-for-profit group.
Selling healthcare data would be a return to a strategy that AHA President Richard Davidson abandoned when he took over leadership of the association in 1991. Shortly after he became president, the AHA began divesting or discontinuing a number of fee-for-service activities, converting the AHA primarily into a dues-supported organization. Those activities included running a database of comparable hospital information called Monitrends, which the AHA discontinued in 1993 after trying unsuccessfully to sell it.
However, the AHA's hospital membership ranks have been dwindling, and along with them much-needed revenues. In 1995, the association's dues revenues dropped for the first time (Oct. 7, 1996, p. 50).
As for the personnel changes announced last week, the moves further consolidate the AHA's power base in Washington.
Although Christine McEntee remains executive vice president and head of the AHA's Chicago office, she's being replaced by Lord as the association's second in command.
Lord, who's only been with the AHA full time since November 1995, is a former Maryland hospital executive. Before he came to the AHA, Davidson was president of the Maryland Hospital Association.
Lord said his new job will still involve working directly with AHA members. In fact, the entire restructuring is intended to bring AHA executives out in the field more often, he said. As healthcare changes, "the way we work is going to have to change. It's critical we get out and spend more time with members," Lord said.
Davidson will increase his involvement with state associations and strategic projects, such as evaluating the new dues and governance structure of the AHA, Wade said.
Also, the AHA is making its Washington office, headed by Executive Vice President Richard Pollack, responsible for all its day-to-day legal activities as they relate to legislation and regulation. Fredric Entin, the AHA's senior vice president and general counsel, will remain in Chicago and help run the association's new corporate services division. Entin will remain in charge of litigation.
In other moves:
Paul Boyke, the AHA's senior vice president for finance and administration, was named president of AHA Services.
Neil Jesuele, senior vice president for member relations and strategic development, was promoted to executive vice president of the AHA's new corporate services division. The Chicago-based division will absorb tasks that Boyke previously handled.