David Phelps Receives MHA’s William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award

BURLINGTON — David Phelps, former president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems (BHS), has received the prestigious 2022 William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award from the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Assoc. (MHA). Each year, MHA recognizes one hospital or health system leader for its exceptional efforts on behalf of its organization and the healthcare system at large.

“It is our honor to present Dave Phelps with the Lane Award. His leadership has helped solidify Berkshire Health Systems as a strong, trusted resource for the people of Western Massachusetts,” MHA President and CEO Steve Walsh said. “Dave’s legacy extends far beyond the region, as he has been a guiding light for what community hospitals can accomplish throughout his decades of service.”

The William L. Lane Hospital Advocate Award was established in 2004 to embody the spirit of William Lane, who served as a hospital CEO for more than 30 years and was among the most ardent advocates for hospitals in the Commonwealth’s history.

Phelps recently concluded his service as president and CEO of BHS after more than 31 years with the organization, including 28 as its chief executive. In presenting the award, MHA highlighted his long track record of strategic investments, his ability to adapt to the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, and his role as a relationship builder among clinicians, public officials, local organizations, and other healthcare providers.

Among the most notable investments spearheaded by Phelps is the Berkshire Medical Center Cancer Center at the hospital’s Hillcrest Campus in Pittsfield, a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative.

“Dave took the helm of BHS at a time when it was under enormous financial stress and intense scrutiny by regulatory agencies. He was successful in calming both lenders and governmental oversight bodies with the commitment that BHS would recover, perform as they expected, and achieve the best in patient care and financial strength for the future,” said Timothy Doherty, former long-time chair of the BHS board of trustees. “And he delivered on those promises.”

Under Phelps’s leadership, BHS’s two inpatient facilities, Berkshire Medical Center (BMC) and Fairview Hospital, have received outstanding national recognition. In the past 10 years, BMC has been recognized as a Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence, a Truven Top 100 Hospital, and one of the Healthgrades Top 100 Hospitals in America out of more than 4,000 hospitals. In addition, BMC has been recognized as a Leapfrog Top Teaching Hospital for the past two years and has earned a Leapfrog grade ‘A’ for safety in nine of the past ten years. Fairview Hospital was recognized as a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital by the Chartis Group in 2021 and consistently ranks among the top 10% of the nation’s hospitals by Healthgrades for Outstanding Patient Experience. Both hospitals also earn high marks from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with five stars overall for Fairview and four stars overall for BMC.

“The scale of the transformation that Dave has achieved at our organization is a testament to his selfless leadership, bright vision, and tireless advocacy for the people of the Berkshires,” said Bart Raser, current chair of the BHS board of trustees. “There is no way to adequately thank him for all he has done to care for Berkshire County.”

Phelps was nominated for the Lane Award by Raser and current BHS President and CEO Darlene Rodowicz.