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NMMRA CEO Dan Jaco to Step Down

Dan JacoThe New Mexico Medical Review Association (NMMRA), the lead company in the state dedicated to improving health care quality, has announced that chief executive officer (CEO) Dan Jaco is stepping down from his position at the end of 2011. The NMMRA Board has begun a careful process toward identifying his successor. Jaco has been with NMMRA since 1999, having served briefly as chief operating officer and then CEO for 11 years. He and his wife will return their roots in the Midwest, relocating to Iowa where his wife has accepted a quality director position with a large health system.

"NMMRA has been fortunate to have Dan's leadership for the last 12 years,” said Richard Kozoll, MD, MPH, president of NMMRA’s Board of Directors. “He will be missed by our Board, staff, and the New Mexico health care community."

NMMRA is New Mexico’s federally qualified quality improvement organization (QIO) and Medicaid external quality review organization (EQRO); one of only 16 organizations nationally holding the prestigious Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; partner with and contractor to the New Mexico Department of Health to reduce healthcare-associated infections in hospitals; partner with and contractor to LCF Research assisting physician offices and rural hospitals with adoption of electronic health records and reporting of quality data; and facilitator of the New Mexico Prescription Improvement Coalition to help improve drug safety. NMMRA is also accredited by the New Mexico Medical Society to provide continuing medical education credits to health providers.

Prior to joining NMMRA, Jaco served as CEO of the Missouri QIO, Primaris (then named the Missouri Patient Care Review Foundation), for 10 years and had also been a consultant on health care quality as well as administrator of a state cancer control program and university researcher.

“It has been extremely gratifying to be a significant part of NMMRA’s growth and diversification of contract and grant work over the past 11 years,” said Jaco. “The key to success, frankly, is surrounding yourself with great people.”

When Jaco first joined NMMRA in 1999, its staff totaled 19, the organization had no financial reserve, and was almost completely reliant on its one federal contract for funding. By 2011, NMMRA staff reached 45, plus a pool of consultants that includes approximately 100 practicing physicians in all specialties located throughout the state. That same federal contract, just renewed August 1 for another three years, continues to be critically important to NMMRA, however now represents less than 40 percent of annual revenues.

Another key accomplishment for the organization under Jaco’s leadership was a lengthy process leading to a legal affiliation with the HealthInsight Management Corporation, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and oversees organizations in Utah, Nevada and now New Mexico. The affiliation enables NMMRA to remain a separate company, focused primarily on New Mexico, while realizing the administrative efficiency benefits of consolidating financial, human resources and information technology resources across the three states.

“The affiliation with HealthInsight Management Corporation is one of the accomplishments of the organization of which I am the most proud to have been a key player, “said Jaco. “The courage the Board showed in making this momentous decision will be something on which I will always look back with admiration, and I firmly believe it will position the New Mexico organization as a viable quality improvement force for many years to come in ways that would otherwise have been increasingly and incredibly difficult as a standalone entity, despite the many successes of the organization.”

Jaco especially acknowledged Marc Bennett, president and CEO of HealthInsight Management Corporation, for both his long-term vision and fostering the environment of partnership that made it possible to bring the affiliation about and to resolve constructively and amicably the numerous issues, small and large, that arise in completing such an affiliation.

A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Jaco holds master’s degrees in communications and public health from the universities of Kentucky and Missouri, respectively, and is nationally certified in health care quality. He plans to do some consulting and volunteer work while supporting his wife in her new post.