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Dr. Lipson steps down after 23 years of visionary leadership

Manuel J. Lipson, MD, stepped down from his role as Spaulding's President and Chief of the Physician Staff at the end of January, after 23 years leading an institution that has become acknowledged as the best rehabilitation hospital in New England.

"I have had the privilege to lead the institution and receive your support through many significant advances," Dr. Lipson said to the staff. "Spaulding has grown into one of the strongest and best rehabilitation hospitals in the country. It has developed a superior management team and outstanding clinical and support staff." Dr. Lipson will remain at Spaulding until March 31.

Dr. Lipson will then take on a new role as Senior Director for Regulatory and Revenue Studies at the Massachusetts General Hospital, working with James Mongan, MD, MGH President. A Yale Medical School graduate, internist and cardiologist, Dr. Lipson will continue to provide clinical care at Spaulding in cardiology and internal medicine.

Samuel O. Thier, MD, president and CEO of Partners, said, "Under Dr. Lipson's leadership, Spaulding has grown into one of the most widely respected rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. On behalf of Partners, I thank him for his service, dedication and tenacity, which have helped to make Spaulding so successful.

Dr. Lipson came to Spaulding in 1974. It was founded in 1970 as the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Hospital. It provided intensive nursing, medical and rehabilitation services. Under Dr. Lipson's leadership, it shifted in 1974 from an extended care facility to the larger role of rehabilitation hospital and integrated post-acute system. Dr. Lipson led the creation of new team-oriented specialty programs. Beginning with no full-time staff, Dr. Lipson recruited a large and dedicated staff of physician specialists. He and those physicians developed many new inpatient and outpatient programs in stroke, arthritis, spinal cord injury, pain, orthopaedics, amputation and traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Lipson then oversaw the introduction and successful development of many other innovative rehabilitation and post-acute programs in pediatrics, cardiology, pulmonology, addiction, geriatrics, complex medical management, oncology, dialysis-associated disease and burn care.

Yet Dr. Lipson also developed cost-effective operations that have permitted Spaulding to become one of the lowest cost academic rehabilitation hospitals in the country. At the same time, the hospital experienced a dramatic increase in referrals and admissions from managed care.

Dr. Lipson has represented Spaulding and the MGH on dozens of national, regional and state associations and task forces. He has become a nationally recognized expert in post-acute law, regulation and finance.

His initiatives on the international front have included developing an increasing number of patient referrals, establishing consulting relationships with developing hospitals in the Middle East, and increasing the number of international professional trainees at the hospital.

Some of the hospital's many other milestones under Dr. Lipson's leadership:

  • Increased admissions from 1,500 annually in 1974 to 4,500 currently, with a consistently full census
  • Increased inpatient referrals to over 50 per day from over 100 hospitals
  • Increased revenue of the Spaulding system from about $5 million in 1974 to over $100 million today. Developed system financial surpluses almost every year for 23 years
  • Created and expanded a hospital-based physician practice with revenues and salaries of over $7.5 million per year
  • Developed joint clinical programs with the MGH, Brigham and Women's Hospital, New England Medical Center, and numerous other Boston hospitals and clinical organizations
  • Established student and residency affiliations with Harvard Medical School and Tufts University School of Medicine (1975)
  • Initiated and developed what has become one of the largest rehabilitation continuing education programs in the United States (1980)
  • Began and expanded multiple academic rehabilitation fellowship programs, including neurology, pulmonary disease, pain, cardiology, geriatrics and substance abuse (1980)
  • Established and rapidly expanded the Home Health Agency, which now performs 165,000 visits per year (1981)
  • Added a four-story wing, providing additional therapy space (1982)
  • Became a not-for-profit affiliate of the MGH and changed its name to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (1983)
  • Initiated and developed a large management consulting service for other health care facilities in the U.S. and abroad (1987)
  • Opened the first in the hospital's network of six Neighborhood Rehabilitation Centers, which, with the Nashua Street center, provides over 70,000 services per year (1988)
  • Developed and began managing the 25-bed Burbank-Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in the HealthAlliance System in Fitchburg, Mass. (1989)
  • Developed a management contract for the joint operation of the Cape Cod Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Center in Hyannis, Mass. (1990)
  • Planned and built a five-story addition with modern therapy gymnasiums on each floor (1991)
  • Established new and enlarging, private and NIH-funded, research programs in gait, neurophysiology, assistive technology and clinical research (1991)
  • Became a full teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School with the establishment at Spaulding of HMS Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and PM&R Residency Program and a ACGME-accredited Residency in Rehabilitaiton (1993)
  • Created a professional management agency for the outplacement of therapists for outpatient centers, nursing homes and schools (1994)
  • Embarked on an ambitious, continuing renovation effort for the entire hospital (1994)
  • Replaced the entire computer information system (1994-1998)
  • Initiated, developed, built and opened the 60-bed Rehabilitation Hospital of the Cape and Islands in Sandwich, Mass. (1995)
  • Ranked among the nation's top rehabilitation hospitals in the US News & World Report "Best Hospitals" survey for three consecutive years (1995-1997)
  • Became the home of the HMS Department of PM&R and Division of Rehabilitation Medicine (199)
  • Graduated the first class of Harvard PM&R residents (1996)
  • Opened the 37-bed Transitional Care Unit (1996)
  • Established the Ventilator Weaning and Rehabilitation Program (1996)
  • Opened the Day Hospital at the Spaulding & Newton-Wellesley Rehabilitation Center (1996)
  • Developed a management consulting relationship with the 25-bed Kent Hospital Rehabilitation Unit in Warwick, R.I. (1997)
  • Created the Charlton Professorship in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with a $2.75 million gift to Spaulding and HMS (1997)
  • Developed the 15-bed Spaulding Unit at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (1997)
  • Developed telemedicine technology for home care (1997)

John V. Woodard, Chairman of the Spaulding Board, declared that "Dr. Lipson is leaving us with a strong hospital poised to grow to an even more commanding national position as a premier rehabilitation facility."