April 13, 2017
By Jeff Kolkey
ROCKFORD — Mayor Larry Morrissey has a new gig: He plans to go to work for Marathon Health, the Vermont-based health care company that operates the city’s wellness center among 140 clinics in 40 states.
As national vice president for government relations, Morrissey said, he will continue living in Rockford after leaving office May 1. His new job will be to develop strategies for sales to the government sector as well as supporting the sales staff that works with governments across the country. He will also be responsible for government relations and interactions with local, state and federal government agencies.
First elected in 2005, Morrissey did not seek a fourth term as mayor.
Morrissey has in his 12 years in office made improving health care of city employees and residents as a way to reduce costs and improve quality of life and productivity a recurring issue.
The Rockford Fire Department, for example, partnered with SwedishAmerican Hospital last year to form a mobile integrated health care program. Through home visits and problem solving, the unit proactively connects resources to a group of underserved patients. The program cut down on the number of participants who routinely calls to 911 and visit to the emergency room for non-emergency reasons.
Under Morrissey’s administration, the city was the first in the nation to effectively end homelessness among local veterans. The city was one of 75 cities that participated in “Zero: 2016,” achieving the “functional zero” definition for ending homelessness among veterans in December 2015.
Rockford’s wellness center opened in the former Fran Kral dealership, 120 N. Third St., in 2014 near Rockford City Hall. It is credited with working to improve the health of more than 1,000 employees and their dependents through convenient preventive care and by encouraging healthy choices.
It is expected to reduce city health care costs by $4.5 million over five years.
Rockford has issued a request for proposals to expand into unused portions of the facility to include ancillary services not necessarily linked to the clinic such as physical therapy, chiropractic, pharmacy, optometry, behavioral counseling and others that could also be open to the general public in addition to city employees.
Morrissey graduated cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law and magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and is expected to leverage his years of leadership and “regulatory experience to develop national strategies for government sector sales,” Marathon Health said in a news release.
“We believe that the unique talent and experience that Larry Morrissey brings, coupled with his knowledge of Marathon Health, government relations and health center operations, make him an ideal candidate to help us grow our public sector business,” Marathon Health CEO Jerry Ford said in the release.