In December 2020, MetroWest Medical Center (MWMC) announced that Ava Collins, who had previously been the Chief Operating Officer at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, would be taking over the role of Chief Executive Officer. Choose Framingham checked in with her to learn a little more about her background, the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the medical center, and what’s next for MWMC.
Tell us a little about your background and what you were doing before coming to MetroWest Medical Center.
I’ve been in healthcare for over 30 years. I joined Tenet Healthcare in 2016 as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Saint Vincent Hospital (SVH). At SVH, I was responsible for daily management and coordination of hospital operations, driving the performance of key service lines as well as playing a key role in development and implementation of business plans. I also had the opportunity to serve in the role of Group COO Lead for Tenet Healthcare’s Massachusetts and the South Carolina market and served as Interim Chief Executive Officer at SVH in addition to my COO role from August 2018 thru May 2019.
Prior to my executive appointment at SVH, I served in various leadership roles with Ochsner Health System in New Orleans including Chief Operating Officer – Ochsner Baptist, Vice President of Operations – Ochsner Medical Center and Assistant Vice President of System Strategy Operations.
I earned my bachelor’s degree from Northeast Louisiana University and Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Tulane University.
What are the biggest challenges facing MetroWest Medical Center?
I think we will continue to have COVID-19 uncertainty and recovery challenges over the next few months. We have always provided separate care pathways for COVID and non-COVID patients at the hospital to ensure safe care for everyone. However, many people have been putting their health and wellness on hold due to concerns of exposure. As the prevalence decreases and the vaccination rates rise, we know that patients will feel more comfortable visiting their primary care physician, getting their routine screenings, scheduling their procedures and coming to our Emergency Room. We are focused on ensuring access, convenience and exceptional service.
And its greatest opportunities?
We remain on vision and on purpose to inspire hope, health and healing in our community. We know that there are many ways to advance this purpose both inside and outside the walls of the hospital and we will continue to work tirelessly to deliver upon our commitment.
COVID-19 has obviously had a significant impact on the center – what do you want people and businesses in Framingham to know about how the center has addressed the crisis?
Our MWMC healthcare heroes have courageously served our patients during this unprecedented year. In my 30 years of healthcare, I never imagined the kinds of challenges our hospitals would face in the COVID-19 pandemic. I also could have never understood the depth of gratitude I have for our physicians, residents, nurses, technologists, care managers, therapists, support services and other team members. They met extraordinary challenges with compassion, perseverance, teamwork and innovation. They changed and saved lives on a daily basis.
And beyond the pandemic, what else do you think Framingham should know about the center’s healthcare offerings?
The community should know that they can receive high quality, advanced healthcare right here in their own neighborhood.
Our medical center consists of 2 campuses, Framingham Union Hospital in Framingham and Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick. Our Framingham hospital is an acute care hospital where we offer medicine, surgical and emergency room care. We have award-winning programs including cardiac, ortho, urology, GI, OB, Cancer, etc. Our Natick campus is dedicated to Behavioral Health including inpatient and outpatient services. We are expanding our behavioral health inpatient beds from 86 to 103 beds which will open soon.
What do you see the next year looking like for the center?
We have plans to expand services in behavioral health, cardiac care, women’s health and surgical services. Three projects currently underway include the addition of 17 inpatient behavioral health beds at our Natick campus, opening of a new Wound Care Center and Cardiovascular step down unit at our Framingham campus.
To learn more about MetroWest Medical Center, please visit their website at www.mwmc.com.