Ludington hospital board chair receives statewide leadership award

October 30, 2014

Al DeeringLUDINGTON — Al Deering, board chair at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, has received the Health Care Leadership Award for 2014 from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA). Deering is one of three recipients of the annual award.

Each year, the MHA honors individuals who, as the organization describes it, “have provided exceptional leadership to health care organizations and to the health and well-being of their communities.” Also honored were Loren B. Hamel, MD, president and CEO, Lakeland HealthCare, St. Joseph, and Alice Gerard, RN, MSN, president and CEO, McLaren Bay Region, Bay City.

This is the second time in the last three years that the MHA’s top individual honor has gone to a leader of the Ludington hospital. President Mark Vipperman, received the MHA leadership award in 2012, before the hospital joined the Spectrum Health system.

Deering’s key role in the 2013 affiliation with the Grand Rapids-based health care system was, in fact, a primary reason cited by MHA for his award.

Deering led the board task force that researched the ramifications of a possible merger with a larger healthcare organization, and the decision-making process that resulted in joining Spectrum Health.

This, said Vipperman, “demonstrated Al’s ability to build consensus. We started with widely diverse opinions on the hospital’s future. His leadership helped bring those views into alignment over time and, by engaging community leaders in the process, I believe he was instrumental in achieving widespread community support for the decision.”

Deering joined the then-Memorial Medical Center of West Michigan board of directors in 2004, and was elected chairman in 2011. During his chairmanship, the hospital completed its most significant expansion and renovation, which MHA credited with “leading to significant improvement in patient satisfaction and delivery of healthcare services.”

Deering and the board oversaw implementation of a full-time hospitalist service, creation of a medical oncology center that filled the gap left by the closure of an independent regional facility, and establishment of an information-sharing portal for board members.

Added Vipperman, “Al has a passion for ensuring patient satisfaction and has made improving healthcare access a principal goal of the board. To demonstrate that goal, he supported the recent integration of various physician practices into the hospital organization, promoting better coordination and improved access.”

MHA’s award summary concluded, “Deering strongly encourages a culture of high-quality care and advocated for the implementation of the board’s quality committee to guide it.

The MHA is a Lansing-based advocacy group representing hospitals and patients in the legislative and regulatory arenas, focusing on issues it believes affect quality, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility to health care throughout the state.

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