Nevertheless, he handed over most of the meeting's master-of-ceremonies duties to Stephen Dickens, whose term as MGMA board chair expired during the meeting. In so doing, Jensen jokingly introduced Dickens, an attorney and risk-management specialist with Brentwood, Tenn.-based State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Co., as his "wingman."
The MGMA reports that it received more than 180 applications for its CEO post and stopped taking more on Oct. 17. Jensen said that they will soon begin telephone interviews and that he and the board hope to name its new leader "early next year."
"If we do our job well, that's exactly what will happen," he said, adding that they were looking for an inspiring leader who understands the changing healthcare landscape and is passionate about helping MGMA members and the challenges they are facing.
Although Turney and her predecessor, Dr. William Jessee, were both physicians, Jensen said that's not a prerequisite for the job.
"It would be nice and it would be consistent with the last two CEOs," Jensen said. "But it isn't mandatory."
About 4,700 people attended the meeting, and one of Jensen's first acts at the event was to introduce Turney, who was sitting in the audience. "You are truly a change agent," Jensen said to her as she stood up and blew a kiss to the applauding crowd.
On Tuesday, Turney participated in a panel discussion on "practice sustainability in age of uncertainty" along with Dr. James Madara, executive vice president and CEO of the American Medical Association.
Turney said recruiting clinicians to practice in rural northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan has been challenging, but she sounded optimistic about the future of the nation's healthcare system.
"We just have to think very differently than we have in the past," she said. "This whole evolution is going to take a lot of fortitude."
Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks