News Hospital CEO is grassroots champion

He receives award for service to community

Dr. Mark Peters, president and chief executive officer for East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, has been named a Grassroots Champion Award winner by the American Hospital Association.

This national award recognizes U.S. health-care leaders for service to their community and for successfully promoting their hospital’s mission.

Peters is Louisiana’s only award recipient. He and the other award winners were honored at the American Hospital Association’s annual membership meeting April 27.

“I am very appreciative of this award,” Peters said. “Receiving this honor was not even on my radar screen, so needless to say, I was very surprised and honored.”

Peters has been president and CEO of East Jefferson General Hospital since 2002.

The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include more than 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health-care organizations, and 38,000 individuals.

Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health-care leaders and is a source of information on issues and trends.

“We depend upon strong local voices to help tell the story of hospitals as cornerstones of the communities they serve,” said Rich Umbdenstock, AHA president and CEO. “This award is a small token of our appreciation for the hard work and dedication of these individuals to improving health and health care in America.”

Peters said addressing health-care needs in the New Orleans area has been a challenge.

“How do we make things work more effectively as a hospital and as physicians to the benefit of our patients and of the community is an ongoing effort and challenge, especially after Katrina,” Peters said. “And this has been a concern not just of East Jefferson Hospital but also among the other hospitals in the area: Ochsner Medical Center, West Jefferson Medical Center, Touro Infirmary and Tulane Medical Center.

“Hospitals need funding to keep the doors open and services available. Locally, these challenges still exist, but there have been improvements. And the challenges exist across the country as well, not just in our area.”