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Q&A:  Award-winning CEO on Running a Small Hospital

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 5, 2012

HealthLeaders Media extends congratulations to James J. Bleicher, MD, president and CEO of Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood, AZ.

Bleicher is the 2012 winner of the American Hospital Association's Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Award, which recognizes the feats of small hospital leaders who have improved healthcare delivery in their communities. 

AHA has cited a number of achievements at the nonprofit, 99-bed VVMC since Bleicher, a hospitalist, became CEO in 2009. They include collaborative health initiatives with community physicians, school districts, and an academic center designed to improve community health and access to healthcare, particularly for underserved groups that include Native Americans, Latinos, the uninsured, the elderly, and those with no access to primary care.

Under Bleicher's leadership, cancer treatments are available in the North Central Arizona region that VVMC serves as part of the Northern Arizona Healthcare system. VVMC has also embraced telemedicine and other remote communications that allow for programs and services that include research trials and tumor boards led by expert clinicians. 

AHA says the success of VVMC under Bleicher's tenure is measurable. When he became CEO, VVMC's Hospital Quality Alliance measures averaged 65%. Three years later they are average 92%. 

VVMC has had no central line infections for three years and no ventilator-assisted pneumonia for four years.  Employee engagement has increased from the 18th percentile to the 90th percentile.

Bleicher recently spoke with HealthLeaders Media about his success at VVMC.

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