C. Duane Dauner died Monday in a car crash near his home in Palm Desert, Calif.
Dauner, 80, was president and CEO of the California Hospital Association from 1985 until his retirement in 2017.
"Duane was an unrelenting advocate for universal healthcare coverage, dating back to the Clinton administration in the early 1990s," CHA President and CEO Carmela Coyle said in a statement. "Duane passionately believed that every person deserved access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. He was never happier than when the Affordable Care Act was finally passed and signed into law in 2010."
Dauner co-authored the 1994 book, "The Health Care Solution: Understanding the Crisis and the Cure," in which he advocated for ideas including expanding health coverage and aligning financial incentives across the industry, CHA noted in a 2016 release announcing his retirement.
In 2013, he helped launch the Hospital Quality Institute, a collaboration of California hospital associations to improve quality performance among providers, Modern Healthcare reported in 2016. He also spearheaded advocacy for a ballot initiative that made it harder for lawmakers to use Medi-Cal funds for anything other than their intended purpose. The measure won in a landslide.
"As the leader of CHA, he distinguished himself as a consensus builder," said Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. "Duane played a key role in improving the lives of millions of Californians and others across the country. As a nationally known health expert, his leadership helped California hospitals and health systems implement quality health care for its patients. Duane also provided leadership at the national level on the AHA Board of Trustees and many other committees and organizations. His many accomplishments leave a deep legacy in our nation's healthcare."