Appointments

Christine K. Cassel, M.D., was appointed president and CEO of the National Quality Forum, beginning this summer. She had been president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine for 10 years. She is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatric medicine, and is past president of the American Federation for Aging Research and the American College of Physicians.

Karen Davis, who is leaving the Commonwealth Fund after serving as its president for two decades, returned to Johns Hopkins University Jan. 1, as director of the Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care. Davis will also be the second Eugene and Mildred Lipitz professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, a department she chaired for 11 years before joining the Commonwealth Fund.

Bruce P. Bailey, president and CEO of Georgetown (S.C.) Hospital System, was named to the board of trustees of the American Hospital Association and chairman of the association's Regional Policy Board 4.

Retirements

Sister Sheila Lyne, president and CEO of Mercy Hospital, Chicago, in December announced her plans to retire. She will continue as CEO until a successor is named and the transition is complete. Lyne joined the community of Sisters of Mercy in 1953, earned a psychiatric nursing degree and began her tenure at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in 1970. She served as president and CEO from 1976 until she was appointed commissioner of public health for the city of Chicago in 1991. Under her leadership as commissioner, the city saw the infant mortality rate decrease by 6 percent and immunization rates rise to 73 percent from 27 percent. In late 2000, she returned to Mercy as president and CEO. Over the past 12 years, Mercy has increased its volume each year, and now boasts a nationally recognized heart and vascular center, a certified stroke center, 11 medical satellite centers and a digital breast care center. Once a new CEO is in place, Lyne will become senior adviser to the Mercy Foundation Inc. Mercy is part of Trinity Health.

Sally Gammon, president and CEO of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, Allentown, Pa., will retire this year. She joined Good Shepherd in May 1997 and led the organization's transformation from a local rehabilitation provider and home for the disabled to post-acute care health system. Under Gammon's leadership, Good Shepherd has quadrupled in size and budget and has expanded its scope of services, growing from a $45 million to a $201 million organization. When she began her tenure, the organization consisted of a rehabilitation hospital and long-term care facility and a work services division. Now it includes a licensed long-term acute care hospital for critically ill patients, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities at Easton Hospital, Pocono Medical Center and Wayne Memorial Hospital, as well as a long-term care facility for the severely disabled and other facilities.

Duane Erwin, president and CEO of Aspirus, a nonprofit health system in Wausau, Wis., plans to retire at the end of July 2013. Erwin has led Aspirus since 2006. Prior to joining the system, he was president of Parkview Hospital and executive vice president of Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Ind. Under his leadership, the Aspirus network grew from its central Wisconsin home to northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Award

• The AHA awarded its 2012 Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Award to James Bleicher, M.D., president and CEO of Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood, Ariz. The award recognizes small or rural hospital leaders who have improved health care delivery in their communities through innovative and progressive efforts. Under Bleicher's leadership, VVMC became involved in numerous efforts to collaborate with community physicians, school districts and a large academic center to share ideas and research and improve access for vulnerable, underserved groups.

Deaths

Pat Neff Groner, the first CEO of Baptist Health Care in Pensacola, Fla., died in December at age 91. During his career, Groner participated in numerous health care organizations, including the AHA, and in 2008 was inducted into the Health Care Hall of Fame by the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is survived by Louise, his wife of 68 years, two children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Mergers, Acquisitions

The University of Maryland Medical System, Baltimore, and Catholic Health Initiatives, Englewood, Colo., have signed an asset purchase agreement in connection with St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Md. SJMC's assets were acquired by the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center on Dec. 1. The hospital will be a subsidiary of UMMS.

Bristol (Conn.) Hospital and Health Group in October signed a letter of intent to be acquired by Vanguard Health Systems Inc., Nashville, Tenn. As part of the agreement, the hospital's board of directors will establish a 10-member board of trustees comprising four physicians, five community leaders and Bristol President and CEO Kurt Barwis. Bristol also signed a network member agreement with Yale-New Haven Health System that includes the coordination of joint clinical programs and the development of protocols used when patients are transferred to Yale-New Haven for tertiary and quaternary care.

• Mountain States Health Alliance's Niswonger Children's Hospital, Johnson City, Tenn., announced an affiliation with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center that will give Niswonger patients access to the specialized services of one of the nation's top children's hospitals.

Hoopeston (Ill.) Regional Health Center joined the Carle health system based in Urbana, Ill., on Nov. 1. HRHC will now be known as Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center and its clinics in Cissna Park, Hoopeston, Rossville and Watseka will remain departments of HRHC.