SPRINGFIELD — Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health, is the 78th chair of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Assoc. board of trustees. He succeeds Kate Walsh, president and CEO of Boston Medical Center.
In his inaugural address, Keroack discussed his deep interest in the major policy proposals and other efforts now underway to advance healthcare both statewide and nationally. He also acknowledged that many of these endeavors are currently overshadowed by disruptive challenges buffeting hospitals, health systems, and other care providers.
“We must reconnect with our core purpose, to remind both our team members and our communities of who we are and what we have always been,” he said. “We need to remind ourselves of our history of being there for our communities for generations, reliably serving all those who need our help, innovating, and caring for the person and not just the disease. And as we step up, as we find our voice, I believe we will learn something about ourselves and what we share in common.”
Both Keroack and MHA President and CEO Steve Walsh argued that a possible ballot initiative to require rigid, one-size-fits-all nurse-staffing ratios poses a threat to Massachusetts hospitals’ ability to provide timely, high-quality patient care.
“Treating every nurse and patient as a number in a ratio will hurt the communities we serve and be disastrous for care quality and access,” said Walsh. “The proposed law does not consider the other clinical staff members that are critical components of a patient-care team, or the flexibility medical professionals need to make split-second decisions. It would increase emergency-department wait times and force hospitals to cut programs, services, and beds. Some of our most vulnerable community hospitals would have no choice but to eliminate units or close entirely. It’s a terrible idea that would decimate the Massachusetts healthcare ecosystem.”