Boosalis to lead Premier into uncharted waters

Mary Boosalis

Experience: Executive vice president and chief operating office of Premier Health, 2011-present; president and chief executive officer of Miami Valley Hospital, 2006-2010; worked in executive positions in hospital operations since joining MVH in 1984.

Education: Bachelor's degree in nursing, California State University, 1976; master's degree in health services administration, Arizona State University, 1986

Organizations: Diplomat of the American College of Healthcare Executives; past chairperson of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association; past president of the Dayton branch of the American Heart Association; current member of the University of Dayton Board of Trustees; past member of Sinclair Community College Board of Trustees; and co-chair of the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton

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Mary Boosalis moved to Dayton in 1986 to complete a post-graduate fellowship at Miami Valley Hospital.

Three decades later, Boosalis is poised to take over leadership of the hospital when she replaces retiring Jim Pancoast as president and CEO of Premier Health — southwest Ohio’s largest hospital network, which includes Miami Valley.

Boosalis, currently executive vice president and chief operating officer for Premier, will assume the role of president on Tuesday. Pancoast, who has been president and CEO of Premier since 2011, will stay on as chief executive until the first of next year.

A California native, Boosalis said her long stay in Dayton and tenure with Premier were unexpected: “I honestly intended to just stay and do my post-graduate fellowship and go back. But I fell in love with Dayton, and I fell in love with Premier.”

Below, Boosalis discusses her vision for the hospital system that has shaped her career with Dayton Daily News reporter Randy Tucker.

Q. How do you see the network changing over the next two years, and how do you see yourself leading that change?

A. The major change I see, and we've already been feeling some of it, is the movement from what has traditionally been an acute care focus…to a much broader focus on providing value, taking on risk for the total cost of care for an entire population. The biggest change is broadening our lens to look at prevention, wellness, long-term care, home care. Yes, acute care will always be important. But I look at it as how do we engage with patients and their families for their lifetime health care needs.

Q. Will accountable care organizations and other delivery systems that provide care for groups of patients become an even larger part of the hospital network's business model?

A. Your going to continue to see changes in the models of care. Often times, we will be engaging with the primary care physician as kind of the gatekeeper who will work with a team of providers. Doctors will always be very important. But one of the big changes I see is a broader and more consistent team orientation.

Q. How will health care reform affect the hospital's operations?

A. It's great that health care reform passed. It's great that people who had no (health insurance) coverage now have some. But I think there's a misunderstanding. The reimbursement level of Medicare and Medicaid is not commensurate with out costs. Our cost structure still is not ultimately where it needs to be, so we feel, and every system does, continued cost pressure.

Q. How will those cost concerns impact your growth and expansion plans?

A. The nation has said health care is too expensive. So you've got to provide more longitudinal care, be concerned with the total cost of care and yet meet quality metrics. We will always pay attention to where populations are moving, but I think it's going to be about much more than bricks and mortar, which have been a huge focus of our industry. I think the biggest opportunity is going to be in the expansion of the digital world. Telemedicine, applications that let you monitor your health at home. Access (to health care) will be provided through different means other than bricks-and-mortar settings and the traditional environment we've all kind of grown up with.

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