Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, MMM degree
CMU graduate Johnny Bates, M.D., says he and others in his MMM study group from the class of 2002 are forming a company to offer physicians courses in business, medical management and healthcare informatics.
"One of the great things about the program is the interaction with other students," he says. "We forged strong friendships."
Bates' Physician Executive Consulting Group plans to offer courses on researching medical errors. Bates is also an internist in Hamilton, Ala., for North Mississippi Medical Center, a 110-physician group practice based in Tupelo, Miss.
University of California, Irvine, MBA degree
A year after his 1995 graduation from UC-Irvine, Frank Rhie, M.D., and several nonphysicians in his study group founded Alteer Corp., a medical management software company, also in Irvine.
"Without the MBA program, this company would never have existed," says Rhie, who is now chief medical officer of the company. Alteer offered its first product in 1998 and now has 5,000 users in 36 states and 32 specialties, he says.
"I learned so much from interacting with the study group," he adds.
Rhie received his degree a year before UC-Irvine started its healthcare executive MBA course.
University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, MBA degree
"I did not encounter much business jargon in the course," says Kanan Chatterjee, M.D., who graduated in December 2001. "Over 80% of the classes were taught by folks who are really working in that field.
"The beauty of distance learning is that I could take as much time as I want to," adds Chatterjee, assistant medical director for primary care and medical informatics at HealthPartners, a health plan based in nearby Minnetonka, Minn.
He recalls that the health policy course was taught by former Minnesota Republican Sen. David Durenburger, who took the class to Washington, D.C., meetings with members of Congress.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, MBA degree
"If I didn't do the MBA, I wouldn't be in medicine, I wouldn't be surviving," says Ken Steiner, M.D., a 1999 graduate who is president of the Family Medical Center, a 16-physician multispecialty group in Woodbridge, N.J.
"I was able to make some drastic decisions," such as recently dropping a money-losing fee-for-service contract with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Steiner says.
"The MBA program gave me certain insights into the other side, the payers," he says. "It gave me a sense of confidence."