Back in 2002, Jersey City Online, a Web site designed to give feedback to the community, listed Amy Man-sue—then the deputy chief of staff for former Gov. James McGreevey—as the 32nd most politically influential personality in New Jersey. It referred to her as being a "popular no-nonsense policy wonk." No nonsense indeed. Four years before she gained that recognition, she was named an
Up & Comer. It happened only to have been a few months after HIP Health Plan of New Jersey tapped her to be its leader at the age of 34. Her mandate, as she described it then, was to position the 200,000enrollee plan as a "dominant player" in the New Jersey market.
HIP was dominant all right, but not perhaps in the way she meant it. In September 1998, state regulators seized the HMO for failing to meet its net worth requirements. The health plan's descent into bankruptcy sent shock waves through the regional healthcare market as hospitals and other insurers scrambled to pick up the slack.
Mansue, however, describes in her resume the leadership strengths that this experience brought out. During this “difficult period,” it states, she maintained 75% of existing business relationships and 90% of employees until the liquidation was complete.
Mansue did not fade into obscurity after this financial debacle. After seven years with HIP Health Plans, she had a brief stint as an area vice president for Cablevision before she worked under the McGreevey administration. It was not her first foray into public service. She had spent a year before her tenure at HIP as the deputy commissioner for the state's Department of Human Services, where she oversaw five divisions, 19,000 employees and an operating budget of $6 billion.
“Every day you were on the precipice of disaster,” she said in 1998 regarding the job. She also served for three years in the early 1990s as a healthcare policy adviser to Gov. Jim Florio. Her current job appears to be a little farther from the precipice. In October 2003, Mansue, 43, accepted her current
position as president and chief executive officer of 110-bed Children's Specialized Hospital, Mountainside, N.J., the largest pediatric rehabilitation hospital in the country, with some 900 employees and 10 facilities in New Jersey. Under her watch, the number of children treated there jumped from
12,800 in 2003 to 15,200 in 2006, while the hospital also grew from eight to 10 sites.
This year, the pediatric rehabilitation hospital—an affiliate of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Network—raised $30 million for a new hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. The largest fundraising effort ever for Children's Specialized, it will culminate in the opening of the new hospital in early 2008.
Mansue stepped into the job after the sudden death of the previous president and CEO and “kept the team working and made sure everyone in the hospital felt comfortable with her,” says Barbara Rothman, chairwoman of the hospital's board of trustees, in an e-mail.
“What makes Amy different is her ability to face all issues straight on,” Rothman says. “In our first meeting, her comment was that she will never, never leave the pink elephant on the table; it will always be addressed, and it has been.”