New leader sets direction for post-bankrupt JMMC

By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Stafford - posted Fri., May. 20, 2011
David Morgan has been appointed interim president and chief executive officer at Johnson Memorial Medical Center. Photo by Lauri Voter.
David Morgan has been appointed interim president and chief executive officer at Johnson Memorial Medical Center. Photo by Lauri Voter.

By the close of September 2010, Johnson Memorial Medical Center officially emerged from bankruptcy under the direction of Peter J. Betts, its president and chief executive officer. Initially, Betts was brought in as a consultant with Focus Management Group to address the $14.7 million loss in fiscal year 2007. After successfully overseeing the organization's turnaround, Betts recently stepped down, and David Morgan was appointed interim president and chief executive officer of JMMC.

“He [Betts] left because that part of the turnaround was over - the bankruptcy part of it… What we’re trying to do right now is rebuild the organization, and I think that’s what I’m bringing to the table, is the ability to do that,” said Morgan.

“When we all came on the scene, we walked into a situation where the hospital had just lost $14 million in operating expenses… There was a significant amount of unsecured debt and secured debt, and there was almost no cash in the bank,” said Morgan, who does not believe that any mismanagement of funds occurred to prompt the bankruptcy.

“I think that we just really got hit with the economy, and you see this kind of thing happening all around the country. There are less hospitals in the country today than there were 10 years ago,” he said.

Morgan, who holds an MBA from Boston University, with a concentration in health care administration, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in medical sociology, began working in the medical field as an EMT in Boston and Philadelphia while still a student.

Morgan has consulted in hospitals around the country, primarily helping them to rebuild departments. He also ran a large ambulance company in Massachusetts, and served as chief operating officer for a hospital on Cape Cod.

“I’ve been everywhere. I have a pretty eclectic background, I think,” said Morgan.

Morgan has been part of the management team at JMMC for more than three years, filling roles in finance and administration. He says that the direction of the hospital will remain the same.

“We always want to be Johnson, we always want to service the needs of the community. The charter of the hospital is to meet the health care needs of the community, so I think that doesn’t change,” explained Morgan.

“I think the goal is the rebuilding of the hospital. The goal is establishing some sort of an affiliation with a larger hospital in the area. We’ve reached out to everybody,” said Morgan.

In general, Morgan describes an affiliation as a partner that can help JMMC meet its current needs in regard to development, access to capital, billing programs and building medical staff.

JMMC is a member of the Connecticut Hospital Association, which represents JMMC in discussions with the state and nationally.

“I am trying to establish and make relations with all our representatives, but clearly the lobbying activities come out of the Connecticut Hospital Association,” said Morgan.

Over the next six months, Morgan hopes to pursue programs that will help JMMC step forward in the market and produce a hospital cash flow. In addition, Morgan would like to invest in the hospital's capital needs and ensure the hospital operates in as efficient a manner as possible. Customer service and relationship building within the community have become key functions of JMMC. To this end, Morgan speaks at various organizations about health-related topics.

As part of its outreach goals, JMMC's community relations department makes speakers available to community groups and organizations, for the purpose of conducting educational programs. JMMC invites the members of the community and organizations to reach out with questions, concerns and to request guest speakers by calling the community resource line at 860-684-8487. More information is available at www.jmmc.com.

JMMC is the umbrella corporation that includes Johnson Memorial Hospital, Evergreen Health Care Center, Home & Community Health Services, and an affiliated physician organization called Johnson Professional Associates, which Morgan describes as a way for the hospital to recruit physicians to service the needs of the community.

JMMC offers numerous services in Enfield and Stafford including surgery centers, ambulatory services, lab and radiology services, physician practices and an oncology center. State-of-the-art MRI and digital mammography technologies have recently been implemented in Enfield. Recently, JMMC has branched out into Tolland with a new APRN and OB/GYN practice, as well as pulmonary, cardiologist and orthopedic specialists.

Contact Lauri Voter with comments and story ideas at lvoter@remindernet.com.


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