By Sanford Glantz, MD, Chief Medical Officer
One of my prerogatives as Chief Medical Officer is to work clinical shifts at the various hospitals with which we contract. In doing so, I have the opportunity to meet a number of extraordinary people – our physicians, mid-levels and the nurses and staff of our client hospitals.
The hospitals vary in volume and demographics, from large to small, urban to rural, northern and southern. What I enjoy best is being able to practice medicine in all those various locales. The medicine does not change, but the way it is practiced, the capabilities of the hospitals and the regional approach to larger medical problems such as trauma, strokes and MI’s do, providing challenges and thrills I look forward to taking on and solving.
While this role is highly gratifying, it also provides insight into the obstacles our local physicians face in their day to day practice. At our rural hospitals, our physician oftentimes may be the only one in the hospital and sometimes even the community – a much different situation from our more urban hospitals where there is Neurology, Cardiology, OB/GYN and surgical backup as well as in-house Anesthesia and Radiology. Some of our hospitals run high censuses and do not have the beds available for admissions while others are constantly looking to enhance their in-patient volume. Observing these matters from the perspective of CMO has given me a new appreciation of our physicians and how they cope with the stabilization and transfer of critical patients.
As CMO, I am also beginning to understand the world of hospital medicine and the unique issues that hospitalists face. The interaction between emergency physicians and hospitalists is what drives patient flow, patient satisfaction and client retention. Each one has a significant impact on the efficiency of the other.
Since the implementation of changes spelled out in the ACA, not only do we have to continue treating our patients well and determining the right diagnosis and disposition, we also have to receive excellent ratings for patient satisfaction. Hospitals are no longer reimbursed for the volume of admitted patients, but rather for their efforts to keep patients from being admitted – somewhat turning the medical field upside down. Physicians and groups that prepared for these changes are now ahead of the curve, and as CMO, it is my job to ensure that Keystone Healthcare Management remains prepared for future changes in order to be not only ahead of the curve, but the market leader.