Two Jacksonville hospital leaders have received national recognition for their work: Among other accomplishments, one has a transformational new vision for children’s health, the other led an exhaustive COVID-19 testing and vaccination plan.
R. Lawrence Moss, president and CEO of Nemours Children’s Health, which has hospitals and clinics in five states, and Tammy Daniel, Baptist Health senior vice president and chief nursing officer, were among Modern Healthcare magazine’s 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives for 2021.
Other health care heavyweights on the list included Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading federal expert on COVID-19; Vice Adm. Vivek Murthy, U.S. surgeon general; and Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Modern Healthcare annually recognizes clinicians who, as nominated by their peers and appraised by an expert panel, demonstrated the most leadership and impact.
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“In the face of unprecedented public health, societal and financial challenges, clinical leaders across the industry continued to find ways to innovate,” according to the magazine.
Editor Aurora Aguilar said, “The 2021 class … did not shy away from the challenges of caring for patient populations during a pandemic. They found inspiration in knocking down hurdles and fighting for top-quality care for their patients and staff.”
The magazine noted how Moss navigated Nemours through the pandemic, as well as his vision for a nationwide shift in how children’s health care is viewed, delivered and funded.
Under Moss’ leadership, Nemours grew telehealth visits 2,200 percent three weeks after COVID-19 hit the U.S. Simultaneously, the health system increased the number of providers trained to use telehealth from 175 to more than 800, according to the publication. It also developed protocols for remote virtual rounds.
“Moss continues to be a vocal advocate for value-based models, including creation of a medical home model at Nemours,” the magazine said. “The system also implemented new screening tools to assess families’ social determinants of health and uses that data to drive interventions.”
Moss, a pediatrician who was named head of Nemours in 2018, said it’s the organization that’s extraordinary. “it was really Nemours on that list, more than I am,” he said.
The hospital system was “nimble and reacted quickly” to the pandemic, Moss said, because of its leaders’ planning and decisions over the past decade. Nemours’ digital health care and telehealth programs — called “telewell” — were already well underway when the need for them exploded during the pandemic, he said.
He also credited Nemours’ partnerships with Baptist Health and its Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Staff and leaders there, he said, are “trusted friends.”
Meanwhile, Moss has boldly advocated changing children’s health care from the current fee-for-service model to a “pay-for-health” model.
In a white paper called “How Children Can Transform the Economy … and Health Care,” he wrote that 15 percent of children’s health is the product of “quality medical care,” while 85 percent stems from so-called social determinants of health, such as quality education, safe housing, food security and protection from violence and other harm. Those social determinants must be addressed before children carry the resulting negative impacts into adulthood, he said.
“By improving the health and well-being of children today, we will have a healthier population of adults in the future,” he wrote. “The benefit of intervention in childhood is huge. Health trajectories and behaviors can still be readily influenced. These changes can last a lifetime and even impact the next generation.”
People who become clinical executives provide direct health care first, he said, and patient care remains their priority.
“My motivation … came out of my experience taking care of children,” Moss said. “Every business decision, every leadership decision is grounded in my experience taking care of children.”
Baptist Health’s Daniel
Here’s what Modern Healthcare wrote of Daniel:
“Over the past couple of years, Daniel played a key role in developing an in-house, nurse-led logistics and transfer center that improved patient flow across the Baptist system. Previously, this work had been outsourced. She’s also had considerable impact on Baptist’s efforts to improve quality and safety, which helped the health system earn an A rating on the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report. She leads several other quality efforts, including one aimed at improving left-without-being-seen rates in the emergency department.”
During the pandemic, Daniel chaired Baptist’s COVID-19 vaccination administration team and, in partnership with City Hall, led implementation of the first public drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Jacksonville, according to the magazine.
“It truly takes a team of people collaborating every day to care for our community, and I work with the best team,” she said. “… It’s easy to be a leader when everything is going well, but during difficult times like the pandemic that is when we all need to step up and lead.”
Daniel helped form field hospitals at three Baptist facilities and worked to ensure that personal protection equipment was available for the hospital system’s 13,000 team members, including about 4,000 nurses.
“Typically health care systems are not agile and nimble when it comes to rapid changes, but COVID-19 pushed us to adapt quickly and information changed every day and sometimes every hour,” she said. “I was just fortunate to be leading some of the teams that made things happen.”
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Daniel has been a nurse for 34 years — she has a doctorate of nursing practice — and said she is “thankful that nursing ‘chose’ me. Sometimes people ask me if I miss providing care directly to patients, and I always respond that I am blessed in my role to be able to care for every patient in our system every day. As a nursing leader, I am involved in strategic planning and decision making that impacts our clinical teams and patients.”
Clinical executives, she said, can be therapists, nurses and physicians who have medical experiences that prepare them to lead others to ensure patients receive excellent care.
Among other things, they “establish policies and practices that are based on medical evidence to keep patients safe and produce the best outcomes. We remove obstacles so that others can do their jobs, and we help develop future leaders through mentorships.”
Daniel said a great leader is influential through building trusting relationships. They “are also passionate about their work, and the people they work beside are driven to reach goals because of that passion,” she said.
Michael Mayo, president and CEO of Baptist Health, called Daniel the “chief influencer” of patient care in the five-hospital health system.
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