Dr. Walter Ettinger to step down as president of UMass Memorial Medical Center

Dr. Walter Ettinger next month will leave his post as president of UMass Memorial Medical Center, which he has held for eight years. He will become senior vice president of Accretive Health, a Chicago company that helps health care organizations manage their finances and operations, the hospital announced yesterday.

The Worcester Telegram reported Ettinger’s departure yesterday. In a memo to staff, John O’Brien, chief executive officer of the Worcester hospital’s parent, UMass Memorial Health Care, said he will become more involved in managing operations there, along with Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jennifer Daley.

O’Brien said he will be evaluating what to do with the president’s position “as we transform our business as a result of health care reform.”

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Here’s an excerpt from O’Brien’s letter, in which he called Ettinger “a trusted partner and colleague.”:

Walt leaves a rich legacy at our Medical Center, most notably his unwavering commitment to always do what is right for our patients. His focus on the quality and safety of care is deeply rooted. We need not look further than the recent Joint Commission survey at the Medical Center to know the breadth of his accomplishments in this area. To help him in this work he brought together a team of topnotch physicians and administrative leaders who share in his vision. Under his leadership the team expanded our services, including the care delivered by our four Centers of Excellence, and also in areas such as critical care and emergency medicine.

Walt’s legacy also includes his close partnership with the Medical School to ensure the fulfillment of our shared missions. A teacher at heart, Walt strengthened our focus on educating tomorrow’s providers, and helped build our program of clinical research to better ensure that our patients benefit from the novel treatments delivered by our own UMass Medical School scientists and others.