Bruce Elegant, MPH, FACHE, president and CEO of Rush Oak Park Hospital, recently was chosen to receive the Lifetime Service and Achievement Award by the American College of Healthcare Executives in honor of his more than 40 years of leadership in the health care field.
The Lifetime Service and Achievement Award recognizes leaders in health care who have made nationally recognized contributions to advance the profession of health care management. Elegant accepted the award last week during a virtual presentation by the Chicago Health Executive Forum.
After earning his Master of Public Health degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Elegant began his career in health care with The Joint Commission, an independent, non-for-profit organization that assesses quality achievement in patient care and safety. He went on to hold the position of chief operating officer at University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics and Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center before assuming the leadership of Rush Oak Park Hospital in 1997.
Elegant, who will retire at the end of June, said in his acceptance speech that he is proud to have worked for a health care system that has been a national leader in diversity and inclusion: “It’s critical that we work harder to attract the best and brightest minds to the field that reflect the communities we serve.”
A legacy of achievement
Under Elegant’s leadership, Rush Oak Park Hospital garnered numerous major achievements, including clinical advancements and capital improvements. In 2013, Elegant was instrumental in the hospital’s full integration into Rush University System for Health.
Rush Oak Park Hospital expanded to provide a breast imaging center, state-of-the-art interventional radiology and surgical suites, and a comprehensive center for diabetes and endocrine care. The hospital’s campus grew to include the Rush Medical Office Building and a new, state-of-the-art Emergency Department.
Throughout Elegant’s tenure, the hospital was recognized for excellence in many categories, including national honors for patient safety and health care equality. The following are just a few of the more recent accomplishments:
- For the third consecutive year, Rush Oak Park Hospital was among a select number of hospitals across the nation to receive top honors for patient safety excellence from Healthgrades, a leading online resource for information about physicians and hospitals.
- In 2020, the hospital received five stars, the highest rating possible, for quality and patient experience from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
- Also in 2020, the hospital was designated a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality in the Healthcare Equality Index.
- The hospital has consistently received the highest possible score for patient safety — an A grade — by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit patient safety watchdog organization.
- The hospital was rated “high performing” in geriatrics by U.S. News and World Report in the most recent edition of its annual “Best Hospitals” issue.
- Since 2016, the hospital has been designated a Magnet hospital, the most prestigious honor a health care organization can achieve for nursing excellence and high-quality patient care.
Elegant said he was both honored and humbled to be chosen to receive the Lifetime Service and Achievement Award, declaring "it's been a privilege to serve as a teacher, mentor and leader in the health care field.”