North Carolina Hospital Association President Bill Pully plans to retire Dec. 31, the association announced yesterday. President since 1999, Pully has led numerous initiatives at the association, most notably the creation of the North Carolina Quality Center, which since 2004 has led the state’s hospitals in improving quality and safety through educational, collaborative and performance measurement programs and services. He also worked with the NC Division of Public Health to establish the North Carolina Emergency Surveillance System, a public-private partnership that electronically monitors emergency departments for early detection of disease outbreaks and bioterrorism. “Bill’s visionary leadership has brought NCHA and its members into a new era of health care delivery,” said Joann Anderson, chair of the NCHA Board of Trustees and president of Southeastern Health. “He has always been a champion for hospitals and health systems, but he has never lost sight of the reason we do this work – that is, to support patients, families and our communities.” Pully will remain as president emeritus as the board conducts a search for a permanent replacement. Hugh Tilson, currently chief operating officer, will serve as interim president.