Massachusetts General CEO says goodbye

Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital's CEO, Peter Slavin, MD, is resigning from the healthcare system he's called home since becoming a medical resident 36 years ago. He will officially step down once a successor is confirmed.

"I love the place," he said of the health system with more than 1,000 beds. "I love what it tries to do every day, and also love the people that make up the organization. So I guess being part of the mission, being part of the community is what I'll miss the most," he said.

As CEO for more than 18 years, Dr. Slavin said one of his greatest challenges has been dealing with the underlying economics of healthcare.

"We're seeing our rates go up at a much slower rate than the underlying inflation in healthcare, and trying to figure out ways to bridge that gap between revenue increases and unit cost increases is a challenge that we've been dealing with for years. And one that I don't see ending any time in the near future," he said.

Another challenge occurred this last year; he postponed his resignation in order to see the organization through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I was quite proud of how the hospital community responded to this pandemic," he said. "Not only clinically meeting the needs of our patients, but I think the work that was done as part of the research mission, the educational mission and the community mission were all incredible to watch and be part of."

Though the pandemic shed light on racial inequities throughout healthcare, tackling the issue is nothing new to the CEO. In 2005, he assisted in establishing the MGH Disparities Solutions Center after the Institute of Medicine and the city of Boston revealed significant evidence of unequal treatment and healthcare disparities on both the federal and local levels.

"I'm pleased with the impact that the center has had on our performance as an organization. And it's also educated a lot of other organizations about how to go about doing this. Having said that, we still have a long, long way to go," he said.

As for what comes next, Dr. Slavin isn't entirely sure. But he has high hopes for the health system he's helmed for nearly two decades.

"I hope that it remains true to its mission and that the culture of the place remains very strong," he said. "It is a very mission-driven organization. People really love taking care of patients. But in order to do that, it has to change. It needs to adapt to the changes in healthcare. And it needs to become more digital and needs to work in a more coordinated way with other parts of our health system. So I hope there are some things about the hospital that never change, but I also hope there are others that change dramatically."

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