I attach an email that I have sent to the BIDMC staff this morning. It is self-explanatory.
My loyal blog readers can expect continued posts over the coming months. The health care field needs a bit of stimulus every now and then, and this medium has turned out to be more powerful in that regard that I ever could have imagined.
Thank you for your readership and your perceptive comments. Knowing that thousands of people around the world have been watching and participating in this adventure has been more important than you can imagine. Please stay tuned for the coming chapters!
I have written to you on special occasions, and this is one. So many of you have become close personal friends and colleagues that I wanted you to hear the news first and directly from me.
I have been coming to a conclusion over the last several months, perhaps prompted by reaching my 60th birthday, which is often a time for checking in and deciding on the next stage of life. I recently traveled to Africa and while biking through the Atlas Mountains had plenty of time in a less cluttered environment to think this through.
I felt some ambivalence as I was writing yesterday's blog post entitled "Resolve." I realized that my own place here at BIDMC in the role I outlined in that blog post had run its course. While I remain strongly committed to the fight for patient quality and safety, worker-led process improvement, and transparency, our organization needs a fresh perspective to reach new heights in these arenas. Likewise, for me personally, while it has been nine great years working with outstanding people, that is longer than I have spent in any one job, and I need some new challenges.
So, last night, I informed the Chair of our Board that I will be stepping down as CEO. We will work out an appropriate transition period, and things will continue to run smoothly here. I leave confident that the Board will find many able candidates to succeed me.
As I look back over the nine years, I see several stages. First, our management team took a hospital that was close to bankruptcy and turned it around. Then, we implemented a strategic plan to restore market share and rebuild the hospital's clinical, education, and research programs. Meanwhile, we engaged in a cultural shift that put the hospital at the forefront of the patient safety and quality movement in the world. That the degree of clinical transparency at BIDMC is second to none is a major factor in our success in reducing preventable harm. And we have turned the corner in terms of engaging our patients in our decision-making processes.
During that time, we built strong internal coalitions, but we also established important relationships with like-minded health care leaders and organizations like Atrius Health, Anna Jaques Hospital, Milton Hospital, Lawrence General Hospital, Beverly Hospital, Commonwealth Hem/Onc, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, several state hospital associations across the country, patient advocates, the Joint Commission, and the Health Foundation in the United Kingdom. I am particularly proud, too, of our close cooperation with BID~Needham Hospital and our affiliated community health centers, who have been extraordinary partners.
But, while the management team deserves much credit for this, it is the dedication and commitment of our front-line staff that has made the difference. You truly believe in taking care of each patient as though that person were a member of your own family. You engage in stunning and creative research that is changing our ability to diagnose and treat disease. You teach medical students, residents, nurses, and others to be compassionate and expert members of the medical team. You devote time, energy, and care to neighborhoods and members of our immediate community. I can never thank you enough for that.
Over the last nine years, I have certainly made mistakes of degree, emphasis, and judgment. I have apologized to you directly for some of those, but I do so again, in the hope that such errors will not overshadow the many accomplishments and contributions of our hospital to the community and the health care industry. On the personal level, if I have slighted any one of you in any way or given you any cause for concern about my warm regard and respect for you, I doubly apologize.
I hope to talk with many of you personally over the coming weeks. We'll arrange some group sessions, but you should also feel free just to drop by the office or stop me in the hallway -- as always!
Paul F. Levy
President and CEO