Bill Pully, president of the N.C. Hospital Association, is set to retire from the trade organization he has steered for the past 17 years. Pully, 64, is only the third professional chief executive the state’s powerful hospital lobby has employed during the past 60 years.
Pully’s last day will be Dec. 31, the Raleigh organization said Wednesday. He will be replaced Hugh Tilson, 53, the trade group’s chief operating officer, who has worked at the hospital association 20 years and will serve as interim president until the organization’s board of trustees conducts a search for a permanent replacement.
Pully has worked for the hospital association for 32 years as chief lobbyist and then as president. A onetime Rocky Mount councilman, Pully ran Democrat Tim Valentine’s successful bid for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, and served as Valentine’s executive assistant in Congress. Pully also ran Lauch Faircloth’s failed gubernatorial candidacy in the Democratic primary in 1984.
At the N.C. Hospital Association, one of Pully’s most important lobbying campaigns was helping win a Medicaid extension for pregnant women and children in 1990. The hospital group has also lobbied heavily for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which would have provided health care for an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians, but those lobbying efforts were rebuffed by the GOP-controlled state legislature.
The hospital association employs about 50 people and represents 137 hospitals and health systems.