December 05, 2006 07:00 ET

CMS Clinical Leader Trent Haywood to Become VHA's First Chief Medical Officer

IRVING, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 5, 2006 -- VHA Inc., the national health care alliance, has hired Trent T. Haywood, M.D., J.D., deputy chief medical officer for the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to fill the newly created position of chief medical officer. As the deputy chief medical officer, Haywood was part of the senior management team directing quality measurement and quality improvement initiatives connected to Medicare. His responsibilities included oversight of publicly reported quality information across health care provider settings as well as the information systems used for the collection and analysis of data. He spearheaded the agency's physician pay-for-performance initiative to align financial systems with efforts to improve clinical quality. Haywood, age 38, also led many of the agency's quality improvement projects related to acute and chronic disease management.

"Trent's national experience and perspective on quality measurement and quality improvement will fuel our clinical vision to help members close the gap between current care and better care. Doing so will eliminate preventable patient deaths and unnecessary clinical complications," said Stuart B. Baker, M.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer of VHA. "Trent is a nationally recognized leader in the quality improvement movement and will be instrumental in helping our members lead the nation in clinical excellence."

"In my previous role with CMS, I worked nationally with providers and physician organizations to prioritize initiatives and prepare them for the national move toward a pay-for-performance environment," said Haywood. "By 2010, health services in the U.S. will be defined by consumer directed health care and pay-for-performance. I believe VHA is uniquely situated to bring about these changes through its resources and alliances."

"This appointment is great news for VHA and its members," said Lillee Gelinas, R.N., M.S.N., F.A.A.N., chief nursing officer at VHA. "More than 200 people die unnecessarily every day in hospitals across the U.S., and Trent is keenly aware of how we should be measuring and moving performance so that the people who should walk out of hospitals alive do so. The appointment significantly enhances our profile as a clinical performance improvement organization. The reality is we always have been involved in quality improvement, but Trent is a known agent in every sector of the quality improvement arena."

As VHA's chief medical officer, Haywood will work with more than 150 other physicians and nurses employed in the organization. In 2007, Haywood will focus on developing VHA's best practices platform to drive quality across the VHA network, stimulating clinical innovation and supporting pay-for-performance. VHA, which covers 25 percent of the nation's not-for-profit hospitals, is already supporting national programs to improve care in the OR, ICU and the ED, and recently announced a three-year commitment to reducing hospital-acquired infections. In 2007, VHA will roll out a national program that aims to transform medical-surgical care.

"One of the primary reasons I'm excited about this new role is that it enables me to continue working in an area of health care that I'm passionate about, improving the quality of care. Furthermore, VHA is an organization that likes to get things done and its clinical vision is to transform clinical care," Haywood said. "It has the resources and commitment from its members to focus on improving clinical quality and to sustain those improvements."

Haywood said VHA's clinical passion will be to help members answer three questions: How am I doing? What do I need to do to close the gap between current care and best practice? How do I get there? To answer those simple questions, VHA's strategy is to build a clinical best practices service that will give members access to new analytical tools and access to networks and partnerships that will help them develop and diffuse new best practices so they can accelerate improvements and sustain performance.

While working in D.C., Haywood lived in Chicago with his wife, Toosdhi, who works part-time as a pharmacist. When not serving in his government role, Haywood practiced emergency medicine at a Veterans Affairs hospital in the Chicago area. He and his wife have two children.

Haywood holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and a medical degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago; he completed his internal medicine residency at Loyola University. Haywood also holds a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law.

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