It's not easy for medical managers to maintain an optimistic outlook in a healthcare environment buffeted by a sagging economy and pressure from payers to keep costs in line.
But several factors weigh in favor of a brightening environment for physician organizations. Relief from the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 has helped hospitals and physicians gain a slightly greater share of the Medicare pie. Additionally, higher insurance premiums have given provider organizations an opportunity to negotiate more favorable reimbursement rates from managed care plans.
Some organizations have figured out that the secret of success requires physician leadership. In this issue, we profile three individuals whose outstanding skills won them Modern Physician's 2001 Physician Executive Award of Excellence.
Keith Wilson, M.D., has guided Talbert Medical Group on an independent path through the thicket of California's capitation woes. Rodney Hochman, M.D., made it his personal mission to use old-fashioned communication and new ideas to help improve his organization's medical staff relations. And Steven Davidson, M.D., is pioneering new technology as a means to improve clinical quality.
Not all who succeed win awards. Their payoffs may be less tangible but more important: the gratitude of their patients and staff. A good example is the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which is selling money-losing medical practices and jettisoning its risk-sharing business in a bold effort to right itself after a risky strategy of overexpansion.
In the end, each organization is responsible for its own destiny. Savvy medical managers know that sometimes means tearing up the game plan and retrenching to ensure long-term success.