For immediate release: August 7, 2012
NORTHAMPTON — Longtime community health leader Jeff Harness has been named Director, Integrated Care and Population Health, and will have a key role in preparing Cooley Dickinson for the rapidly changing environment the health system faces as health care delivery is transformed.
Mark Novotny, MD, chief medical officer of Cooley Dickinson Hospital, announced Harness’s appointment to the new position. “Jeff’s strong leadership and organization skills and his ability to build strong, collaborative relationships will quickly advance Cooley Dickinson’s preparedness for population health management, which will succeed the current fee-for-service payment method,” Novotny said.
Harness comes to his new role after 16 years as director of the former Western Massachusetts Center for Healthy Communities, where he provided regional and statewide leadership on public health, especially prevention. The center closed in June as part of a state reorganization of services.
Craig Melin, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson, said Harness is uniquely suited to build a community program to integrate care management across multiple settings, including physician offices, VNA & Hospice, the hospital, nursing homes and other providers.
“In the fee-for-service world, health care is paid for by test, visit, and procedure, a piecework approach in which providers could function independently,” Melin said. “Managing the health of a population, as Cooley Dickinson will be doing in the future, requires intense collaboration among providers and patients. Jeff has proven he can build the strategies and relationships that will be required for success under population health management.”
Harness will continue supporting the Cooley Dickinson Board of Trustees’ Healthy Communities Committee and leading the Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s community benefits program. In addition, he will serve as Cooley Dickinson’s government relations point person, Novotny said.
Prior to becoming director of the Western Massachusetts Center for Healthy Communities, Harness served Cooley Dickinson Hospital as a health promotion manager and inpatient behavioral health program manager. A resident of Northampton, he holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, Bloomington.