Michael Wagner, who has been serving as interim head of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children since September, now has some job security.
The Tufts Medical Center Board of Trustees said Thursday it has voted unanimously to give Wagner the titles of president and chief executive of on a permanent basis. Wagner, a medical doctor, became interim head when his predecessor, Eric Beyer, abruptly resigned.
By some measures, Tufts Medical Center, located in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, has not been as successful as Steward Health Care System, Partners HealthCare System, or Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at adding community hospitals to its franchise at a time of rapid consolidation in the industry.
But it does have one advantage: one of the largest community physician networks, the New England Quality Care Alliance, with 1,800 doctors in Massachusetts.
Wagner, who faces the challenge of keeping Tufts competitive, said the “buzz around consolidation” tends to obscure the fact that only about half of proposed consolidations actually come to fruition.
He cited as an example Partners Health Care System’s proposal to take over South Shore Hospital in Weymouth — a takeover initiated in 2012 that has yet to be completed. That deal has been under review by state and federal regulators.
A state Health Policy Commission report earlier this year said the takeover would drive up costs and restrict competition in the South Shore health care market. It called on Attorney General Martha Coakley to further review the deal.
In February, merger talks collapsed between Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and two other major health care organizations, Lahey Health and the Atrius Health consortium of doctors groups.
“The focus on big, downtown, monolithic hospitals is not going to play well in the future,” Wagner said.
He said Tufts will focus on care and services that take advantage of its network of community hospital partners, allowing for more treatments and procedures to take place outside the city, where costs are often higher. Tufts is affiliated with Lawrence General Hospital, Lowell General Hospital, MetroWest Medical Center, and Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital.
“We’re about keeping people local when they can stay local,” said Wagner, who noted that he is “the only CEO of a big downtown hospital who’s worked as a physician in local community hospitals.”