Boston Business Journal
Feb. 22, 2013
By Julie Donnelly
Alan Macdonald was recently named the new executive vice president for strategy and external affairs for Hallmark Health System. It’s at a time when the community hospital system is under pressure to change the way it delivers care, and to ally itself with a larger hospital or health care network. McDonald has been a trustee of the hospital group since its founding in 1997. McDonald spoke to reporter Julie M. Donnelly about the changing health care landscape, why he’s passionate about having deep community roots, and what’s so special about a set of captain’s chairs he uses for his bridge table.
What’s the biggest challenge facing Hallmark Health System right now?
The biggest challenge is to adjust the delivery system to be more focused on outpatient care and less focused on inpatient care. Over the years, the health care system has become very hospital-centric, and we have to reverse that. One thing we are doing is opening urgent care centers to move care there that does not need to go to more expensive emergency rooms. We have opened one at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford and we will be looking to open more in our other core service areas, which include Saugus, Melrose, Wakefield, Reading and Saugus.
What’s something that gives you a competitive edge?
If I have a competitive edge, it would be that I have had a lifetime of working closely with wonderful leaders in both public and private life. I like to think I’ve learned something from them.
What are your three greatest passions? Volunteer community activities is a great passion.
I’ve lived in the same house in Winchester since sixth grade. I’ve served in town government, at one time as the chair of the Board of Selectmen. I’m also a trustee of the Winchester Scholarship Fund and have served on a number of other community boards. The second would be recreation, specifically golf. And the third would be spending time with my four grandsons.
What’s a good day for you?
A great day for me would have four parts. It would have one or more visits with family, it would include personal reading and writing time, it would include completing a business or volunteer commitment, and end with a leisurely dinner for two with my wife Jane.
What is your favorite status symbol?
I have four captain’s chairs that are very meaningful to me. One is from Dartmouth College and was given to me for serving as the president of the local alumni association. One is from the town of Winchester, for serving as the chair of the Board of Selectmen. One was given to me by the Winchester Country Club. The fourth I just received from Hallmark Health last week, for serving as a founding trustee. I use them for my bridge table, to play cards.
What is your favorite restaurant?
The Black Horse Tavern in Winchester. It’s new in the past several years, and it’s become a great community resource.
What three people, alive or dead, would you choose to have dinner with?
I would choose St. Paul, for his wisdom in building relationships; Galileo for his personal courage and scientific genius; and Daniel Webster, for his stories about his role as a political leader in Massachusetts.