Ruth Rothstein is preparing to retire as chief of the Cook County (Ill.) Bureau of Health Services, but her legacy as "a businesswoman, dealmaker, negotiator and politician" will remain stamped on the healthcare industry, friends and colleagues say.
Robert Shelton helped to usher hospitals into the Medicare era during his two decades as executive director of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Shelton, who died at age 85 last September, guided the HFMA from a small group of hospital accountants into a professional organization of more than 20,000.
And former Surgeon General Luther Terry, who died in 1985 at 73, was the leading force behind educating the public about the correlation between smoking and lung cancer in the 1960s.
Those individuals will join Modern Healthcare's Health Care Hall of Fame, established in 1988 to honor men and women who have made lifelong contributions to the industry. The three will be inducted at the 16th annual Health Care Hall of Fame dinner held at the yearly meeting of the American College of Healthcare Executives on Feb. 29 at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. The three will join 67 other inductees.
Rothstein, 80, was appointed to lead the Bureau of Health Services when it was created in 1991, after serving as interim director of Cook County (Ill.) Hospital. She had previously served more than two decades as president and chief executive officer of Mount Sinai Hospital and Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, where she developed effective models for access and healthcare delivery in poor neighborhoods on Chicago's West Side.
Rothstein worked to replace the county hospital and saw her plans materialize with the opening of 464-bed John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital in December 2002. Last year, she announced plans to retire, but Cook County Board President John Stroger asked her to stay on until a successor was chosen (Aug. 25, 2003, p. 58).
Shelton served as the Westchester, Ill.-based HFMA's executive director from 1959 to 1978 and oversaw tremendous growth in the organization and its activities. Shelton organized educational programs for hospitals in which accountants taught executives how to cope with the new federal Medicare program.
He also launched the HFMA's Annual National Institute, an education event for members, and created several professional programs. Shelton attended 44 consecutive ANIs until poor health prevented him from attending last year's institute. Shelton remained active in healthcare after his 1981 retirement and served on the HFMA's Advisory Council of Past Presidents and Chairmen.
Terry was appointed surgeon general in 1961 by President John Kennedy and endorsed a report by the U.S. Public Health Service on the connection between smoking and lung cancer that marked the beginning of an ongoing national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking.
Even after he left the post, Terry continued his antismoking cause, especially in efforts to ban cigarette advertising on radio and television. From 1965 to 1975, Terry was a faculty member of the Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania. The university houses Terry's research on the effects of smoking on health.