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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

MFA CEO to leave role, making way for ‘full-time leadership’

The+Medical+Faculty+Associates+building+on+Pennsylvania+Avenue
Auden Yurman | Senior Photo Editor
The Medical Faculty Associates building on Pennsylvania Avenue

Medical Faculty Associates Chief Executive Officer Barbara Bass will step down from her role to allow “full-time leadership” to helm the medical enterprise, according to a University release Friday.

Bill Elliott, the former chief operating officer of the University of Maryland Faculty Physicians, Inc., will take over for Bass on May 13 as interim CEO of the MFA, a nonprofit group of physicians from GW Hospital and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The release states that Elliott will direct day-to-day operations and instill “financial stability” into the MFA, which owes GW $200 million and has garnered more than $250 million in deficits since fiscal year 2020. 

“I welcome the opportunity to implement the work that is already underway, the work that has been planned but not yet started and the work still needed to achieve the goals of the MFA,” Elliott said in the release.

Bass, who also serves as the dean of SMHS and the vice president for health affairs, will lead the University’s “academic clinical enterprise,” which includes education, research, patient care and community engagement, the release states. Bass has served as the MFA’s CEO since January 2020 and was the first physician CEO of the group since 1999. Bass said at the February Faculty Senate meeting that the MFA pays back the money that it owes to the University at a rate that “contributes substantially” to the University’s spendable revenue.

“The tasks of running a high-performing faculty physician practice to serve our patients requires intense and undivided attention,” said Ellen Zane, who chairs the MFA Board of Trustees. “Considering the needs of the future, the time is right to ensure that the MFA has full-time leadership.”

In September, the MFA brought in a Chief Financial Officer Robin Nichols after Lance Kaplan left the role in February 2023. Nichols previously served as CFO of Warbird Consulting Partners, a consulting firm for health care and financial institutions, and as CFO of WakeMed Health System.

Officials have walked back on the MFA’s breakeven projects two years in a row. GW CFO Bruno Fernandes projected the MFA will lose between $30 million and $50 million in FY 2024 at an October Faculty Senate meeting.

Elliott’s appointment as CEO marks the third time in the last decade that the MFA has changed its executive management. In December 2018, GW acquired more governing power over the MFA, replacing its leaders in the following years with GW officials like Bass or outside hires. The MFA brought in a new CEO and CFO in January 2017 after terminating former CEO Stephen Badger, who held the position for more than 15 years. 

For at least three years, faculty senators have asked for increased transparency about the MFA’s debt recovery efforts and have expressed concerns that the University’s mounting loans to the group will impact funding for GW’s schools and colleges. The Faculty Senate passed a resolution in February requesting the Board of Trustees evaluate the MFA’s debt and its potential effect on GW’s “underfunded areas” like student financial aid and undergraduate education.

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About the Contributor
Rory Quealy, News Editor
Rory Quealy is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communications from La Grange, Illinois. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2024-25 news editors. She was previously the assistant news editor for the Health and Research beat and a research assistant.
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