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About the CEO - Farewell Message

From the Desk of Elaine Ullian, President & CEO

January 21, 2010

My friends, although it hardly seems possible, it will soon be time for me to take my leave from this special place. So I want to bid you a fond farewell and, even as I look forward to what the future holds for Boston Medical Center, remind us all of the unique opportunities and proud accomplishments we have shared.

We did not come easily into this world, this first-in-the nation merger of a public city hospital and a private non-profit academic medical center. Throughout the difficulties and complexities, we were guided by a simple principle. This new private institution would operate with a very public mission, a commitment to provide consistently excellent and accessible health services to all in need of care, regardless of their status among us or their ability to pay. And it gives me immeasurable pride to look back now and to know that for each and every day of my 16 years on this campus, we have never wavered from that mission.

Because our work every day is so much of the here-and-now, I could not leave without urging each of you to pause and appreciate just how much we have accomplished together. We truly are a unique institution in our nation’s health care landscape – New England’s largest safety net hospital, an academic medical center that adheres to the highest standards of excellence, and the primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine. Take pride in what the numbers and milestones say about you:

  • We have never stopped growing. In 1996, we had 243,000 patient visits. By 2009, that number had more than doubled to 565,000. Admissions have consistently grown 3% each year, and outpatient visits 7% a year. During this decade alone, the volume of emergency visits increased from 90,000 to 132,000. Annual revenues have increased from $400 million to $2.3 billion.

  • We have never stopped reaching for new heights to better serve and care for our patients. We are a center of medical excellence, providing superior, comprehensive care in virtually every medical specialty. We recruited the best and brightest in the medical profession, almost tripling the size of our medical staff since 1996 – from 300 physicians then to 836 now. And we have excelled in pioneering investments in new technology, from robotic surgery and Cyberknife technology to being among the first hospitals in the country to install an electronic medical records system.

  • With over $850 million spent on our buildings and physical plant, we are better able to provide safe and quality care, we have proudly invested in our community, and we have improved our appearance to our neighbors in the South End. We demolished three long abandoned buildings, renovated two historic buildings, built the Moakley Cancer Center, and are currently building the new Shapiro Ambulatory Center. We constructed two parking garages and three research buildings and, with our partner Boston University, the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories in BioSquare.

  • We have worked hard to make sure our patients receive the right care in the right setting. Since 1996, we have invested at least $60 million in capital improvements for our community health center partners, supporting new or renovated facilities at East Boston, South Boston, Codman Square, Dorchester House and Roslindale. BMC also provides $20 million of financial support each year to Boston HealthNet, a network of community health centers.

  • And the BMC HealthNet Plan, an HMO for low-income populations, has become the largest and most successful Medicaid HMO in Massachusetts with over 250,000 members statewide. U.S. News & World Report and the National Committee for Quality Assurance have ranked the HealthNet Plan #2 in America for Medicaid plans.

Working with you as President and CEO of Boston Medical Center has been the most satisfying and rewarding experience of my professional life. And our successes have depended on the extraordinary talents and commitment of so many – our medical and administrative staff, the vision of Mayor Thomas Menino, the support from extraordinary public leaders and elected officials, the exceptional partnership with Boston University, and the unfailing loyalty from the community we serve and our many supporters.

But there is still much to do in the next few years to make sure this hospital can continue to help and care for the patients and the communities who depend on it so much. And for that reason I am delighted that Kate Walsh will succeed me at BMC. She brings keen intellect, wisdom, and warmth to this position.

I thank you for your passion and your commitment in building and creating Boston Medical Center, and trust that you will continue to stand by it as you always have. As someone who was told many times we would not survive one year, I leave with the faith that Boston Medical Center not only will survive, it will continue to grow and thrive as never before.

With respect and gratitude,

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