Forum News & Updates

In this issue:

Register for our complimentary program on the governance of physician organizations

The transformation of health care toward more integrated and accountable delivery systems has brought physicians and hospitals together as collaborators in ever increasing numbers. With this shift has come a need to rethink and engage physician leaders in new roles, including governance.
To understand how the governance of physician-led organizations is different, and similar, to that of health care systems, the AHA’s Center for Healthcare Governance and Physician Leadership Forum, with generous support from Hospira, Inc., undertook a study to examine governance structures and functions in a diverse set of physician organizations.
Join your physician and hospital executive colleagues on Saturday, July 25 from 11:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco for this half-day complimentary program, in conjunction with the Health Forum/AHA Leadership Summit, to hear the highlights of the study, including case study presentations from three leading-edge physician organizations. Attendance is limited to ensure opportunity for dialogue.

To learn more or register for this complimentary program, click here.

AHA report examines physician arrangements with hospitals

A new survey report (AHA members only) from the American Hospital Association examines physician practice and contracting arrangements and their relationships with hospitals. As health care delivery and payment move from fee-for-service to value-based arrangements, such as bundling and shared savings, hospitals and health systems need a clear understanding of how physician practice and contracting arrangements are developed and affect care delivery. The approximately 1,000 respondents reported a broad array of physician arrangements from loose affiliations to employment models. Nearly half of responding hospitals and health systems indicated they engaged in an employment/salary model while 20 percent reported working with physicians through an open physician-hospital organization contracting model, which is a joint venture between the hospital and the medical staff who wish to participate.

AHA-supported bill would add 15,000 Medicare-supported residency positions

Legislation designed to address the urgent nationwide need for additional physicians, the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2015 (H.R. 2124), was introduced in April 2015 by Representatives Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Charles Boustany (R-LA). Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Charles Schumer (D-NY) have introduced similar legislation (S. 1148). Both bills would add 3,000 residency positions each fiscal year from 2017 through 2021 for a total of 15,000 positions above the Medicare limit. While the bills differ slightly in how the additional residency positions would be distributed among teaching hospitals, priority would be given to hospitals in states with new medical schools, hospitals in training partnerships with Veterans Affairs medical centers, and according to additional factors. “The current freeze on the number of physician training positions that Medicare funds has severely limited hospitals’ ability to train the next generation of physicians,” said AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack. “It has also contributed to a shortage of physicians, especially in behavioral health, primary care and general surgery…We look forward to working with Congress to enact this vital legislation.â€

PLF webinar will explore surviving and thriving in the new commercial environment

Register now for PLF’s next webinar, “Surviving and Thriving in the New Commercial Environment,” taking place Wednesday, May 20 beginning at 2:30 p.m. E T.
In this hour-long webinar, presenters Sam Glick, partner, Oliver Wyman and Niyum Gandhi, partner, Oliver Wyman, will help participants understand the new expectations of payers, employers, and consumers, and what health systems can do to survive and thrive in the new environment. They will share the disruptions coming to the health care environment and the view from hospitals and health systems as they begin to adapt to a new way to engage and deliver health care.

To register for this complimentary webinar, click here.

Online program helps retrain physicians to become family docs

A new online program offered by the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine aims to retrain retired physicians or physicians from other specialties to become family physicians, according to a recent article from the Southwest Times Record. After pilot testing the program for a year, the Physician Retraining & Reentry online program officially went live in May 2014. It’s a 15-course online program that costs $8,500, according to the article. Doctors are given a year to finish the program, but most finish in a few months. The article notes that 13 doctors have completed the program while another 80 are currently in it. In the article, Leonard W. Glass, MD, who started the program, says he initially expected retired physicians to make up the majority of program participants. However, he’s found most participants come from other specialties or industries.

Improving care coordination among physicians

Care coordination presents a number of challenges to both primary care physicians and hospitalists, according to a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Researchers conducted focus group interviews with four groups consisting of just hospitalists, three groups consisting of just primary care physicians and one hybrid group of the two. Similar challenges recorded by the groups include lack of time, trouble getting in touch with other physicians and medication discrepancies. The groups also identified common themes for successful care coordination. These include making sure accountability is clearly defined, better coordinating care for “high-risk” patients and improving the exchange of patient information through different channels.

Achieving transformational change begins with physician leaders

In order for hospitals and health systems to achieve transformational change, they will need to develop physician leaders, according to a recent article from H&HN magazine. The article notes there has been greater physician engagement and an increase in physicians interested in leadership roles. However, most lack the essential skills to be an effective leader. Communicating effectively, building trust, management training and emotional intelligence are some of the skills needed for effective leadership. The article says it’s the responsibility of hospitals and health systems to identify potential physician leaders and develop them. The article discusses how hospitals and health systems can create their own physician development programs.
Two reports from the Physician Leadership Forum examine this subject in further detail:
“ Lifelong Learning – Physician Competency Development” examines physician competencies for value-driven health care delivery. It includes case examples of activities underway at various hospitals and health systems and discusses how hospitals and physician-associated organizations can help mold the next generation of physicians to function in a reformed health care delivery system that emphasizes team-based, value-driven care.

“ Physician Leadership: The Implications for a Transformed Delivery System” highlights the case for developing physician leaders and identifies characteristics to consider for leadership education programs including case examples.

Website allows doctors to rate medications

Consumers consistently turn to the web to search for reviews of various products, medications included. A recent article from WIRED looks at a new product called RateRx, which allows physicians from around the world to rate the effectiveness of medications. Created by digital health startup HealthTap, RateRx also allows physicians to leave comments about the drug or to rate other user’s answers. The article notes a number of other platforms do the same thing, but HealthTap’s CEO says there are two things that distinguish its product. First, reviews are based on the average of 63 physician reviews per medication and second, as new research and data become available, the reviews will naturally change and not be static.

AHA issues framework for working with patient and family advisors

A new guide from the AHA’s Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence presents a framework for engaging patients and families as advisors on quality and patient safety initiatives. Developed by the AHA’s Symposium for Leaders in Healthcare Quality, the guide helps hospitals and health systems build and sustain partnerships with patient and family advisors to accelerate the pace of transformation in pursuit of the Triple Aim – better care, better health and lower cost. HPOE is the AHA’s strategic platform to accelerate performance improvement and support delivery system transformation in the nation’s hospitals and health care systems. For more information, visit

Still time to apply to the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program

The deadline for applying to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Visiting Scholars Program is May 29, 2015The Scholars Program is an exciting opportunity for junior faculty, PhDs, residents/fellows, medical students, public health students, and graduate students in health services research and other relevant disciplines. Potential research topics include physician assessment and education, quality improvement in patient care, continuing professional development, and health policy, among others. Projects should build on existing research at the scholar’s institution and generate data, tools, and activities that could be useful to specialty boards in the Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC)/Continuing Certification (CC) process. For more information about the program and the application process, contact ABMS.