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Who We Are

Lifton Associates, LLC is a healthcare management consulting firm which assists hospitals, health systems, and related organizations in strategy development and implementation, business planning, medical staff development planning, and program and organizational development. 

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James Lifton

Jim founded Lifton Associates, LLC in 2006, and he consults in medical staff development planning, strategy formulation and implementation, and business planning. Jim writes and speaks on key issues in health care and has published in Trustee, Health Care Strategic Management, hfm Magazine, and Spectrum.


Jim is a public member of the American Board of Medical Specialties, where he served on the governance and finance committees. He is an adjunct faculty member for the Master of Healthcare Administration Program at the University of Illinois Chicago. Jim is a Lifetime Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Business Development. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Illinois and he has graduate degrees from Wayne State University and the University of Chicago where he earned an MBA in hospital administration. 


Jim served and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. He is a high school soccer referee and avid White Sox fan. Jim’s curriculum vitae is here. James Lifton CV


When special expertise is appropriate to meet the needs of a client, one or more of the following associates may be part of the project team.

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Joseph Spallina

Joseph is experienced in clinical program planning, development, evaluation, and operations improvement; strategic planning and business development; and joint venture planning. He is known nationally for his work with cancer and cardiovascular programs. Joseph has served a range of health care organizations, including academic medical centers, community hospitals, and physician practices. 


Prior to his career in consulting Joseph was on the administrative team at the University of Michigan Medical Center. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Rochester and he earned an MBA at Syracuse University.


Joe is a wine connoisseur and season ticket holder for University of Michigan football.

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Douglas Rich

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Michael Swarzman

Michael began his career in manufacturing and materials management, followed by over 35 years in health care. He recently retired as the vice president of clinical institutes, business development and hospital-based programs at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, and system vice president of growth and training with AdvocateAurora Health Care.


Michael received his undergraduate degree from Butler University and both a Master of Arts and a Master of Business Administration from Loyola University of Chicago. He is a faculty member of the graduate school of public health at the University of Illinois, Chicago, on the advisory committee of Loyola University’s Graduate Health Care Management Program, and chairs the board of visitors of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University. Michael is also a director of Union Health Services in Chicago and serves on the board of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and the finance committee of the American Board of Medical Specialties.  


Michael’s volunteer work includes instruction in English as a Second Language, director of the Masonic Family Health Foundation, longtime volunteer with Little Brother/Friends of the Elderly. He has been awarded a Chicago Community Builder Award. Michael is an avid chess player and an eternally optimistic Chicago Cubs fan. 

Doug works in hospital planning and strategy, organizational affiliation, and governance.  His career in healthcare consulting spans four decades and Doug’s clients have ranged from academic medical centers to critical access hospitals. 


Doug is a Fellow and former Chairman of the Board of the American Association of Healthcare Consultants, a Lifetime Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and a member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development. 


Doug did his undergraduate work at Bucknell University, received his master’s degree from Duke, and completed an administrative residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 


Doug is a Chicago Cubs fan and avid birder. 

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