Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More on Paul Levy

Bob Wachter, a long time admirer of Levy, weighed in yesterday:

Paul Levy, the blogging CEO of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, found himself in hot water last month over an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate. While some of the details of the transgression remain sketchy, I think I now know enough to opine on it. To my mind, Paul has been an extraordinary healthcare leader, and – while the episode represents a lapse in judgment that deserves censure – he should not lose his job.

Pretty much the same sentiments I expressed here. Great things happened at BIDMC under Levy's leadership, but has he lost his moral authority? From a Boston Globe piece yesterday:

Levy’s signature moment, until recently, had been persuading his employees to take pay cuts last year that saved low-income workers from being laid off. He said he was able to win that concession because of his personal credibility, authority that has now taken a serious hit.

“I could go in front of them and say ‘I want to do what I can for the low-income workers but that means everyone will have to take a bigger sacrifice.’ I was able to do that because I had the moral authority to say those things,’’ he said. “If it were today, would I have the same amount of moral authority?’’

Well, that might depend on how much of a pay cut Levy himself took. In the interest of transparency it would be nice to know. But for the most part the legacy doesn't have to be about Levy or his moral authority. As I pointed out long before Levy's personal difficulties became public, on their own merits his claims regarding never events are implausible and his transparency selective.

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