After spending the past 15 years in healthcare administration and working on health policy on Capitol Hill, Donna Fox continues to press for government funding for healthcare.As vice president of government affairs at the Cambridge (Mass.) Health Alliance since 2003, Fox implemented the system's first-ever government-relations program, as well as developed and launched a Medicaid health plan. However, that is just the beginning when describing what Fox, 39, has accomplished throughout her career.
Fox was finishing up her Master of Science degree in healthcare management and policy from Harvard. While the system was changing from a city hospital to an independent public authority, Fox quickly adapted by implementing an indigent-care program, which became a key part in forming a sustainable financial and patient-care infrastructure, Cambridge Chief Executive Officer Dennis Keefe says.
"She's one of those unique individuals," Keefe says. "When you have her working on many kinds of projects, no matter how difficult, she finds a way to come up to speed, and comes as close as possible to an expert by implementing plans related to the strategies."
Fox shows tremendous hard work and effort in helping Congress understand healthcare issues and the government is very supportive of what the system is trying to accomplish, Keefe says. Cambridge Health Alliance is a 350-bed, three-hospital system with more than 20 primary-care practices.
"I've learned that there are multiple ways to make an impact to improve access to healthcare and public health, both on the front lines and in public policy," Fox says.
Fox's start in healthcare -- during what she says was "a phenomenal vantage point during the early 1990s debate in healthcare reform" -- was working as senior legislative assistant on health and domestic policy to then-U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, currently chairman and president of Citizens Energy Corp.
"Donna was one of the most knowledgeable and hardest-working legislative strategists ever to work on Capitol Hill," Kennedy says. "Her effectiveness derived from her understanding of not just policy and politics, but also of economics and the market forces that drive so much of healthcare decisionmaking in our nation. But most of all, her superb advocacy and policy work-whether in Washington or Boston-has always come from her devotion to helping people, especially the most vulnerable who struggle in the shadows of our economy to keep themselves and their families healthy. Donna has a great heart to go along with her considerable business and political skills."
Says Cambridge CEO Keefe, "Donna fits the definition of an Up and Comer. She's a gifted individual with whatever she accomplishes."