Nashville, Tenn. (June 27, 2023) – The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) today presented James L. Heffernan, FHFMA, MBA, with the 2023 Frederick C. Morgan Individual Achievement Award, honoring career-long contributions to HFMA and to the healthcare finance profession.
Heffernan was the senior vice president of finance and treasurer of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization (MGPO), for 25 years. He played a significant role in strategic planning for the MGPO, one of the largest physician group practices in New England, and for Massachusetts General Hospital, which is the corporate member and general hospital of the MGPO as well as one of the principal teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School. He previously held chief financial officer, chief operating officer and other executive management positions at Saint Luke’s Medical Center and Westlake Health Campus Association in Ohio. He continues in a part-time role teaching healthcare finance courses at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Wentworth Douglas Hospital in Dover, N.H.
Since the 1980s, Heffernan has served HFMA in many roles at the chapter, regional and national levels. After spending a decade in committee chair and board officer positions for HFMA’s Massachusetts and Rhode Island chapters, he was elected Massachusetts chapter president in 2006-07, and facilitated the successful merger of the two chapters during his term. Heffernan subsequently represented New England on HFMA’s Regional Executive Committee. At the national level, Heffernan served on the Board of Examiners, chaired the Physician Practice Leadership Council and served on the National Board from 2018-21.
Upon being notified of the award, Heffernan said, “Throughout my career, HFMA has been synonymous with education and preparing its members to excel at managing their organizations to provide care and access for their patients and community. Never has this been more important as we seek to rebuild the morale and trust of employees who committed so much to our country’s survival through a national emergency. I trust HFMA can help us meet these challenges.”
“Over the course of a long and highly accomplished career, Jim Heffernan has shared his considerable financial and strategic expertise with HFMA and a host of other organizations that directly serve patients and communities,” said HFMA President and CEO Ann Jordan. “Although Jim has retired, his good works will long continue benefiting countless people.”
Heffernan is a recipient of the Follmer Bronze, Reeves Silver and Muncie Gold merit awards in recognition of his many contributions to HFMA. He also is a recipient of the Founder’s Medal of Honor. He received the Hernan Award from HFMA’s Massachusetts-Rhode Island Chapter for outstanding contributions in the field of hospital financial management and work in the chapter.
“The HFMA story of Jim Heffernan is one of unparalleled commitment…over decades,” wrote HFMA Massachusetts-Rhode Island Chapter Past President Roger C. Boucher in his nomination letter. “It is the story of countless hours of service that no one ever sees to make sure things get done right…of recruiting new leaders and volunteers…of managing one’s own career with all those attendant responsibilities while still finding the time for HFMA service, and of building and strengthening one of HFMA’s great chapters and regions. It is the best story of HFMA achievement, dedication and leadership that I have ever seen.”
Heffernan has volunteered his time and professional expertise with many healthcare organizations, including the Mass Collaborative, a voluntary group dedicated to simplifying healthcare administrative processes; Tulane Medical School; the Ohio Health Care Board; and the Greater Cleveland Hospital Association. He has also been a preceptor for graduate students at Cornell University and Cleveland State University.
Tower Health System VP of Payer Contracts and Relationships Ethel Hoffman wrote in her nomination letter, “While my internship under Jim occurred over 25 years ago, I still have vivid memories and experiences from that that time. Jim has continued to be an inspiration for me. He instilled in me a passion for education and mentorship. Following his example, I am preparing to launch a formal internship program for health finance leaders within my organization.”
Heffernan also has held leadership positions in many civic organizations, including MGH Men Against Abuse; Jane Doe Inc, the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence; Templum House (a domestic violence advocacy and shelter); community development corporations in Detroit and Cleveland; and school district building and curriculum advisory committees.
In her nomination letter, Debra J. Robbin, Ed.M., executive director of Jane Doe Inc., wrote, “We all learn so much from working with Jim. Through his time on our board, our finances have grown as has our reserve account. Jim is extremely supportive and constructive in his work with [us]. Strengthening [our organization] internally has given it the opportunity to be a thought leader in the work to end domestic and sexual violence. In our strategic planning work, Jim is both thoughtful and creative, weaving our commitment to racial justice with the goal of envisioning a world without violence…As a colleague, a parent, a grandparent and partner, he exemplifies the strength of compassion and commitment to what is just and equitable. Jim inspires others to similarly strive to their full humanity by his strong sense of purpose.”
Additionally, Heffernan has authored several articles in the professional literature, including HFMA publications, and made dozens of presentations on a wide variety of topics at educational conferences.
Heffernan holds a master’s degree in business administration from Cornell University’s Sloan Program in Health Administration. His undergraduate degree in chemistry, with a minor in biology, is from Boston University.
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) equips its more than 100,000 members to navigate a complex healthcare landscape. Finance professionals in the full range of work settings, including hospitals, health systems, physician practices and health plans, trust HFMA to provide the guidance and tools to help them lead their organizations, and the industry, forward. HFMA is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that advances healthcare by collaborating with other key stakeholders to address industry challenges and providing guidance, education, practical tools and solutions, and thought leadership. We lead the financial management of healthcare.