The Leapfrog Group's new chief executive officer takes over the patient-safety organization as it enters a year of change, beginning with simplifying the data-reporting procedures that hospitals participating in its annual survey must follow.
Leah Binder, named Leapfrog's new CEO on Jan. 22, will take the reins on March 10. The announcement comes after a five-month search to replace Suzanne Delbanco, who founded the organization to leverage the purchasing power of large healthcare buyers.
Leapfrog this year will streamline its process for hospitals that participate in its annual survey, which is expected to reduce the time and effort required to complete it. For its rewards program, the group will take efficiency data collected through the survey for two evidence-based procedures, coronary artery bypass graft and angioplasty, and add measures for community-acquired pneumonia and heart attack, according to a spokeswoman.
Aetna is encouraging 31 hospitals in the Puget Sound and Spokane areas of Washington to participate in the new survey and be involved in the rewards program it established with Leapfrog, said Drew Oliveira, medical director for the insurer's Northwest markets. Aetna hopes to collect the data from Leapfrog and use it to provide feedback to the hospitals and target improvements that could lead to cost savings and higher quality, he said. The old survey was "cumbersome," he said. "They changed it a bit, in terms of making it easier for hospitals to report."
Binder said she is looking forward to leading that change while building on Leapfrog's accomplishments over the past seven years.
Though some have questioned how effective Leapfrog has been lately, officials say the group still has a large part to play in pushing healthcare reform, and Binder is the best leader for the job. "Leah brings a strong policy background and the ability to transform that policy into action," said Dave Knowlton, secretary of the Leapfrog board and a member of the CEO search committee.
Binder, 45, currently serves as vice president of the Franklin Community Health Network system, Farmington, Maine, and executive director of Franklin Health Access and the Healthy Community Coalition within the network. In her time there, she raised $8 million in grants for the network's primary facility, 56-bed Franklin Memorial Hospital. In addition, she served as senior policy adviser for health services to Rudy Giuliani when he was mayor of New York, where she designed and led a public-private partnership to expand health insurance among small businesses.
Those key qualities are what drew Leapfrog to Binder, Knowlton said. Binder's ability to work in a team and "marshal resources" will help the group build on its agenda to push national healthcare reform, he said.
Leapfrog's survey changes fit in with an overall change in perspective the new CEO brings, said Larry Boress, president and CEO of the Midwest Business Group on Health, a Chicago-based coalition of health purchasers that serves as a regional partner with Leapfrog. With Binder's hospital background, Leapfrog can change the perception that the group is controlled by large purchasers and bring focus to its work on increasing quality and safety in healthcare facilities, he said.
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