The article about problems in the heart program at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., resonated for me ("Surgeries' quality questioned," Sept. 26, p. 12). I have long argued that lack of management and leadership training within medical education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels has hurt many healthcare organizations. Unfortunately, clinical skill, research prowess and teaching ability have little to do with management and leadership, yet these are the primary criteria for selection of department chairs.
Management education is rarely required. Though it does not guarantee effective leadership skills, such education increases the likelihood of success. I would argue that some degree of management education be a requirement for any clinical leadership position. UMass' troubles could have been averted if a department chair with specific training in management and leadership and an awareness of the management literature on the subject of assuming a new leadership role had been selected.
Michael Patmas Assistant professor of medicine and geriatrics Oregon Health & Science University Vice president of medical affairs Clear Choice Health Plans Bend, Ore.
Assistant professor of medicine and geriatrics
Oregon Health & Science University
Vice president of medical affairs
Clear Choice Health Plans
Temps are bad news
Regarding your cover story on hospitals cutting their use of temporary staffing agencies, I can tell you our story ("Temp industry merger mania," Oct. 17, p. 6).
Frio Regional Hospital is a small rural facility with a budget of about $6 million located about 60 miles south of San Antonio. Two years ago we were spending an extra $200,000 on nursing temps. We gave registered nurses $6 more per hour, replaced our nursing director and within two months, no more temps. We have not used one since then. Several nurses came back because of improved morale, and turnover is nil. General recruitment became easier and we have not had a nursing shortage in two years.
The use of temps is bad news. They are poorly trained and cause resentment because they do less and are paid more.
Bold action may be necessary to break the cycle.
Alan Holmes Chief executive officer Frio Regional Hospital Pearsall, Texas
Chief executive officer
Frio Regional Hospital