Modern Healthcare has released its 19th annual ranking of the "100 Most Influential People in Healthcare"—and frontline health care workers were awarded the top spot in recognition of the work they've done amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Frontline workers take the top spot
In this year's ranking, Modern Healthcare honored frontline health care workers with the top spot, with Modern Healthcare's Ginger Christ writing that frontline health care workers have "been the true heroes of this pandemic."
Christ noted that, so far, CDC estimates that more than 2.2 million health care workers have contracted the novel coronavirus and nearly 900 of those workers have died.
Keith Renshaw, a professor and chair of psychology at George Mason University, said dealing with levels of death and illness that high is draining, both physically and mentally. "If you're in a high-stress environment at your job and you're doing that day in and day out, having physiological reactions to everything around you, it starts to exhaust you," he said.
It can also be isolating, as traditional support systems and ways of relaxing for health care workers have disappeared amid the pandemic, Renshaw added.
Health care workers have also had to serve "as surrogates for support systems" for patients, as health care facilities have had to restrict visitations to stem the coronavirus's spread, Christ writes.
"These professionals have had to serve as family members," Nancy Foster, VP of quality and patient safety policy for the American Hospital Association, said. "They sit there with the patient to help them use an iPad or another device" to talk to their families. "They hold their hands when they're really in pain or suffering. All of that, they do with humility and love as a substitute for family, and that is something extraordinary."
Ranking highlights infectious disease experts, officials focused on combating pandemic
Modern Healthcare’s latest ranking also featured several infectious disease experts, industry leaders, and federal and other officials who have been focused on combating the novel coronavirus pandemic or played otherwise notable roles in shaping America's response to the pandemic. For instance, the ranking included:
9. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases;
11. Stephen Hahn, FDA commissioner;
12. Tom Inglesby, director of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security;
16. Seema Verma, CMS administrator;
28. President Trump;
31. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House's coronavirus task force;
35. Emma Walmsley, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline;
50. Jerome Adams, U.S. surgeon general;
58. Francis Collins, NIH director;
87. Jennifer Taubert, EVP and worldwide chair of Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceuticals business; and
88. Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna.
Hospital leaders on the list
Of the top 25 positions on Modern Healthcare's ranking, nine belonged to hospital and health system leaders, many of whom also played key roles in responding to the pandemic. Those 10 leaders were:
2. Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health;
3. Marc Harrison, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare;
4. Samuel Hazen, CEO of HCA Healthcare;
7. Gene Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health;
13. Melinda Estes, president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System;
19. Greg Adams, chair and CEO of Kaiser Permanente;
21. Randy Oostra, president and CEO of ProMedica;
22. Penny Wheeler, president and CEO of Allina Health; and
24. Jaewon Ryu, president and CEO of Geisinger Health.
The other leaders featured among Modern Healthcare's top 25 honorees were:
5. Beverly Malone, president and CEO of the National League for Nursing;
6. Susan DeVore, CEO of Premier;
8. Judith Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic Systems;
10. Jason Gorevic, CEO of Teladoc Health;
14. Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health;
15. David Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group;
17. Bonnie Castillo, executive director of National Nurses United;
18. Gail Boudreaux, president and CEO of Anthem;
20. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association;
23. Richard Isaacs, CEO and executive director of Permanente Medical Group; and
25. Ann Mond Johnson, CEO of the American Telehealth Association.
Daily Briefing is published by Advisory Board, a division of Optum, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group ("100 Most Influential People in Healthcare 2020," Modern Healthcare, accessed 12/7).