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Five minutes with Dr. Stuart Levine, president of MedStar Harbor Hospital

Five minutes with Dr. Stuart Levine, president of MedStar Harbor Hospital
Stuart Levine is president and chief medical officer of MedStar Harbor Hospital. (Handout)

Stuart Levine was the type of kid who was really focused on his Fisher Price doctor set.

He never wanted to be a baseball player or a fireman or an accountant, like other members of his family. Just a doctor.

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So it was no surprise he went to medical school and became a rheumatologist, a doctor who treats diseases affecting joints, muscles and bones. He practiced his specialty and worked as a researcher and professor at Johns Hopkins University. He moved over to the MedStar Health system in 2010.

Without the expressed goal of running a hospital, he also was climbing an administrative ladder that led him in September to become president and chief medical officer at MedStar Harbor Hospital in South Baltimore.

“I didn’t come out of medical school and training thinking I was going to be a health care administrator,” Levine said. “The theme, though, as I look back on it is everything I’ve been doing has been about patient care and how to have the biggest impact on the greatest number of people… With each opportunity came more opportunity.”

Levine still sees patients on Mondays. Like other physician administrators in the region, he sees it as a means of directly helping patients and keeping a medical provider perspective.

But now that he is in charge, he said he will focus on ensuring patients get the best and most appropriate care possible inside — and outside — of the hospital. That means building on services considered essential to people in the surrounding area.

The hospital, for example, opened a behavioral health center more than a year ago to address the demand for substance use and mental health disorders. Levine had a hand in that in his previous position as vice president of medical affairs at Harbor, a job he took on in 2014, adding MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center to his portfolio two years later.

His focus also will be on maintaining and expanding the maternity unit, which delivered 1,400 babies last year.

And, Levine said, a major push going forward will be developing and maintaining partnerships in the community, so patients get the right services in the right facility, such as primary care doctors’ offices.

“Hospitals need to understand the pulse of what is happening where they serve,” he said.

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