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MMS Vice President is Appointed to State Health Care Payment Reform Commission

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Richard P. Gulla
January 12, 2009
(781) 434-7101

Waltham/Boston – Jan. 12 – Alice Tolbert Coombs, M.D., Vice President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, has been appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to the state’s Special Commission on the Health Care Payment System, a new commission established to evaluate the health care payment system and recommend reforms that will result in cost-effective health care for the Commonwealth.

Dr. Coombs, a critical care specialist at South Shore Hospital and anesthesiologist with South Shore Anesthesia Associates, was one of five gubernatorial appointments to the commission.

“I am honored to have been chosen as a member of the Commission,” said Dr. Coombs, “and represent physicians in this critical effort. Payment reform is an essential part of health care reform. Such reform will address the existing disparities between quality and volume-driven payment structures, a situation that has aggravated our ability to deliver all-important primary care. It will also help to address health care needs for all residents, particularly the underserved, especially as we confront increasingly tight budgets and a weak economy.”   

A member of the Massachusetts Medical Society since 1990, Dr. Coombs was elected Vice President of the Medical Society in 2007. Long active in organized medicine, she is a member of the American Medical Association’s Commission to Eliminate Healthcare Disparities and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine’s Patient Care Assessment Committee.

She was a former member of the Massachusetts State Commission to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities, is a past chair of the Medical Society's Committee on Ethnic Diversity, and has served on the Medical Society's committees on Public Health, Managed Care, Recognition Awards, and Leadership Development. She is a past president of the Norfolk South District Medical Society, one of 20 district groups that comprise the statewide organization.

Dr. Coombs received the Society's Henry Ingersoll Bowditch Award of Excellence in Public Health in 2005, an annual award given to a physician who demonstrates creativity, commendable citizenship, initiative, innovation and leadership in the public health and advocacy fields.  

A graduate of UCLA School of Medicine, Dr. Coombs is board-certified in the medical specialties of internal medicine, anesthesiology, and critical care. She is a diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners and a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Dr. Coombs joins four other distinguished professionals appointed by the Governor:  Andrew Dreyfus, Executive Vice President of Health Care Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Deborah Enos, President and CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan; Nancy Kane, Professor of Management and Associate Dean for Educational Programs, Harvard School of Public Health; and Lynn Nicholas, President and CEO, Massachusetts Hospital Association.  Other members of the Commission include Dolores Mitchell, Executive Director of the Group Insurance Commission; Christie Hager, Chief Health Counsel to the Speaker, the appointee from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and State Senator Richard T. Moore, Senate Chairman of the Health Care Financing Committee, the Senate appointee. The Commission will be co-chaired by Leslie Kirwan, Secretary of Administration and Finance and Sarah Iselin, Commissioner of the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy.

The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 20,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and web site, and Journal Watch alerts and newsletters covering 12 specialties. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health care professionals throughout Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information please visit http://www.massmed.org/, http://www.nejm.org/, or http://www.jwatch.org/.   

Please call (781) 624-MORE or visit www.southshorehospital.org for a referral to a South Shore Hospital physician.

South Shore Hospital is a 318-bed, not-for-profit, tax-exempt, charitable provider of acute, emergency, outpatient, home health, and hospice care to the people of Southeastern Massachusetts. South Shore Hospital’s home care division includes South Shore Visiting Nurse Association, Hospice of the South Shore, and Home & Health Resources. The hospital’s 880-member medical staff represents all leading medical specialties. South Shore Hospital employs 3,800 people, supported by a team of 600 volunteers. South Shore Hospital is licensed to provide Level II Trauma care and Level III Maternal/Newborn care. Please call (781) 624-MORE (6673) for a referral to a South Shore Hospital physician.




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