The American Hospital Association last week tapped a Los Angeles hospital chief executive officer to be the trade groups chairman in 2009 and approved a draft of its healthcare reform agenda.
The selection of Thomas Priselac, president and CEO of 855-bed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, as AHA chairman-elect means he will represent the group during the key first part of the new U.S. presidents term. He will succeed William Petasnick, president and CEO of Froedtert & Community Health System, Milwaukee, as chairman-elect starting Jan. 1.
Trustees elected Priselac July 21, during the associations annual leadership summit in San Diego, where they also approved an initial, official draft of a healthcare reform agenda unveiled earlier this year (May 14, p. 10).
Priselac, 56, was unavailable for comment, a Cedars-Sinai spokeswoman said. As chairman-elect, he will oversee the AHAs long-range planning committee.
Richard Krugman, dean of the University of Colorados School of Medicine and chairman of the American Association of Medical Colleges, praised Priselac, the AAMCs immediate past chairman, as a focused and collaborative leader, in an e-mail. Priselacs career has given him a very broad view of the healthcare industry, Krugman said.
Priselac joined Cedars-Sinai in 1979 and was promoted to CEO from executive vice president in 1994. He has served on a half-dozen healthcare boards, including VHA, the National Committee for Quality Health Care and the California Hospital Association. You dont get to those positions without being respected by your peers and having proved yourself, said
C. Duane Dauner, president of the Sacramento, Calif.-based hospital association. Hes proven himself repeatedly.
Dauner, who has known Priselac for 22 years, described him as skilled at understanding sweeping federal policy as well as how such policy may impact individual hospitals. Priselac likely will have a role advocating for the AHAs evolving proposal for overhauling U.S. healthcare. The five-point draft endorsed by trustees does not include specific legislative proposals, but sets a handful of priorities, including wellness, efficient and affordable care, high-quality care, healthcare information technology adoption and universal coverage that is jointly financed by business, employees and the public sector.
Richard Umbdenstock, the AHAs president and CEO, announced the trustees vote on the agenda July 22 before members gathered in San Diego. We must make sure that healthcare reform becomes more than a passing political issue or an ideological struggle, he said.