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High Altitude For Altman

High Altitude For AltmanStuart Altman, a renowned health care economist who sits on the board of Tufts-New England Medical Center, has high expectations but also draws high esteem from his colleagues.

Boston [07.21.05] Stuart Altman, a highly regarded figure in the world of health care policy, has held several notable positions in the field – ranging from an advisor to President Bill Clinton to his current seat on the board of Tufts-New England Medical Center. His vast experience in the realms of academia, government and business has proven to be both an invaluable resource and a competitive advantage for his colleagues at Tufts-NEMC.

"[Altman] provides a perspective that enlightens the process," Ellen Zane, president/CEO of Tufts-NEMC, explained to Modern Healthcare. "He gives us an enormous strategic advantage.

"If you know Stuart at all, you know that he's intimidating intellectually but not personally," Zane, who also holds the title of assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, added. "People feel very comfortable about picking his brain; they find him not only stimulating but down-to-earth. As busy as he is, the big brain that he brings to the table is quite amazing. He's very engaging, very funny. You know he's good at what he does – and he knows he's good at what he does – but he doesn't wear it on his sleeve."

"I've never thought of myself as intimidating. I certainly try not to be, in the sense that one is overbearing or believes that their views should always win out," Altman – who holds an appointment as adjunct professor in the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine at the School of Medicine – told Modern Healthcare. "The other thing is that this is a board that's made up of very successful people – this is not a group that would be intimidated. If anything, I think it's the other way around."

Altman's experience is deep and varied. Currently, Altman is Sol C. Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.He also chairs the Brandeis-based Council on Health Care Economics and Policy and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine.

Previously, in addition to spending 12 years on the board of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, he has served on a state health care commission, advised the state attorney general on health care policy, sat on a Congressional advisory panel on the Medicare payment system, and worked on President Bill Clinton's transition health care policy team.

"I think I do understand many of the forces that are affecting [health care] in particular, both nationally and in Massachusetts,'' Altman told Modern Healthcare. "So I try to be helpful to the board whenever I can. I try not to overdo my knowledge of healthcare policy to hog discussions.''

"Stuart's contributions are incredibly valuable," Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow, who also sits on the Tufts-NEMC board, told Modern Healthcare. "In Stuart's case it's his encyclopedic knowledge of the industry and, especially, of government policy… We turn to him for the big picture."
























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