Thursday, November 11, 2010

Working Together to Make Things Better for Our Patients and Ourselves

Every day I meet people who are concerned about change in the world of healthcare. Last week I attended several focus groups that brought together primary care physicians from around the region to talk about healthcare reform and what it really means for our doctors. What I heard from these individuals is that many physicians are skeptical of healthcare reform, that the government doesn’t really know what is best for patients and that many doctors have little trust in hospital administrators.

I had the opportunity to address some of these very issues with our own physicians at the medical staff meeting on November 9. I spoke about the changes – and the possibilities – that are coming to healthcare, and how, if we confront the future together, we can come out stronger and better.

[Click here to see the video of the medical staff meeting presentation: *Note: this is a large file - if you have problems playing, press pause to allow the video time to load.]

Quarterly Medical Staff Meeting- President's Report from GBMC on Vimeo.

Not too long ago I was a practicing pediatrician, so I know where physicians are coming from. But, what do we do?

We have two choices.

We can sit back and hope that maybe this reform everyone keeps talking about will just go away.

Or, we can take action now to improve health, improve care and reduce costs. We can change our current healthcare system into one that is more patient centric. By doing this we will not only do well by our patients but we will also have the best chance of doing well ourselves. I believe this is the right choice.

Physicians, nurses, other clinicians, support staff, and administrators must band together. Toward this end, we will be creating a new entity known as Greater Baltimore Health Alliance that will address the changing face of healthcare by working with our physicians, both employed and private practice doctors, to better focus on the needs of our patients.

It all comes back to – What if it were your daughter? Our goal is to achieve the best possible health outcomes, have a higher level of satisfaction with the care provided, create less waste and have our care providers take joy in what they do best – care for our patients. It’s up to all of us to take the lead in this new challenge.

And, speaking of this new world in which we live, I recently attended the signing of the Baltimore County Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – an agreement between GBMC and six other local healthcare and educational institutions that in the event of a community disaster we will be able to come together to provide life-saving medical care to all those affected. This means the creation of a “surge site” that will allow a large number of patients to be rapidly treated if all local hospitals have exceeded capacity for receiving patients. I was proud to be associated with the men and women at GBMC and in the community who stand ready to meet an extraordinary need and work together in crisis.

Pictured at the signing are: Mike Forthman, Dan Tesch, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, Dr. Jeff Sternlicht, Dr. Chessare and Michelle Tauson.

I am a believer in change for the better and in working collaboratively to meet the needs of our hospital, our patients, our physicians and our community – are you? I welcome your comments and feedback on this topic.

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