Not many years ago doctors were concerned only with curing people. No longer. Even a solo practitioner is managing a business. The head of a giant hospital complex is an executive whose peers are in the Fortune 500. Thus when the trustees of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System went looking for a new president, it was a search much like that of any other major conglomerate.
They found their man in Dr. James A. Block, a 51-year-old pediatrician who has spent about 10 of his 25 years as a doctor practicing medicine and the rest assuming progressively greater administrative responsibilities. For the past six years he has been president of University Hospitals and Health Systems in Cleveland.
Given the needs of the Hopkins medical complex in East Baltimore, Dr. Block looks like the right man to succeed Dr. Robert M. Heyssel, who has led the hospital and related facilities through two decades of growth, not without some pain, and a little retrenchment in a sour economy. The more medicine succeeds in curing, the more challenges seem to mount. Cost containment and concern for market share are watchwords along with quality care.