Harold Ray, M.D., and Samuel Nussbaum, M.D., are the winners of the 2003 Physician Executive Awards of Excellence, sponsored by the American College of Physician Executives and Modern Physician.
Ray, 70, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives, is the winner of the second annual award for Lifetime Achievement.
Nussbaum, 55, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Anthem, based in Indianapolis, is the winner of the sixth annual Physician Executive Award of Excellence.
Ray, who will retire this summer, is a graduate of the medical school at the University of Kansas and served his internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Oregon. He practiced as an OB/GYN for 30 years in Sacramento, Calif., and delivered an estimated 7,000 babies while building an executive career that included stints as chief of the OB/GYN department at Sutter Community Hospital, chief of staff for Sutter hospitals, board chairman of the 900-physician Sacramento Physician Network, and chairman of the 140,000-member Omni Health Plan. He also served on the boards of Sutter Hospital and Sutter Health and as a senior physician consultant for the Pace Group of Dallas.
In 1997, Ray joined newly formed Catholic Health Initiatives, at 68 hospitals in 19 states, one of the largest not-for-profit hospital organizations in the United States. There he has led an effort to establish intensivist programs in the intensive-care units of all urban hospitals in the system, developed evidence-based performance measurements, established advisory teams for Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations accreditation and better than halved the losses of hospital-owned physician practices. .
"A lot of us didn't start out as physician leaders, but we saw the need and stepped up to the plate," Ray said. "I've always been an advocate of physicians being involved. I think that always having quality and patient safety at the forefront, we need to be at the table where the decisions are made."
Nussbaum, a 1973 graduate of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, is board-certified in internal medicine, endocrinology and metabolism. He completed his internship and residency at Stanford University and served on the faculties of Stanford and Harvard Medical schools. He has performed research in his subspecialties and became a pioneer in therapies for the treatment of osteoporosis and malignancy associated hypercalcemia.
He became the director of Endocrine Associates, a 15- to 20-member academic physicians group at Massachusetts General Hospital, which led him to join the board of directors of the 400,000-member Bay State Healthcare plan. He became its chairman when the board was forced to take over the financially troubled HMO in 1991, arranging its merger the following year with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Nussbaum served on the Blues plan's board and was president and chief executive officer of Physician Partners of New England, a physician service corporation.
He joined BJC Health System (now BJC HealthCare) in St. Louis in 1996 as executive vice president of medical affairs and system integration and served as chairman and CEO of Health Partners of the Midwest, a joint health plan of BJC and Washington University School of Medicine. At BJC, he established a "mini-MBA" program with members of the WU faculty to train more than 50 BJC physician leaders in business management skills and founded its Center for Health-Care Quality and Clinical Effectiveness.
At Anthem, Nussbaum has spearheaded a number of quality improvement and disease management initiatives and a pay-for-performance system that is a model in the industry.
"We've got to find ways of rewarding physicians who work hard to obtain better results, who invest in technologies to obtain better results and who achieve better results," Nussbaum said.
In his present position, Nussbaum said he gets a kick out of having a part in forming national healthcare policy.
"I had an opportunity to go before Congress and talk about disease management," said Nussbaum, who was named chairman of the Disease Management Association in October 2003.
"I love what I do," he said, adding, "I've loved and been impassioned by each phase of my career."
Panel of judgesThe winners were selected by a panel of physician executives selected by the ACPE and Modern Physician. The panel includes past winners Thomas Royer, M.D., president and CEO of Christus Health, Irving, Texas; Harris Berman, M.D., professor and chairman, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, and former CEO of Tufts Health Plan; and Max Cohen, M.D., vice president and CMO of Missouri Baptist Medical Center, St. Louis.
The judges also include Scott Ransom, D.O., president of ACPE, executive director of the Program for Healthcare Improvement and Leadership Development and associate professor in obstetrics, gynecology, health management and policy, University of Michigan; Marvin Kolb, M.D. ACPE vice president and CMO, Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield, Calif.; Barry Silbaugh, M.D., ACPE secretary/treasurer and vice president of medical operations, Catholic Healthcare Initiatives, Albuquerque, N.M.; and Don Melnick, M.D., ACPE board member and chief executive officer, National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia.
Editor's note: Silbaugh did not participate in the judging of the Lifetime Achievement awards.