As we enter 2011, I wish everyone a Healthy New Year. Clearly, this will be a year of continuous and difficult challenge. It is an exciting time, but it demands that we all step up to the plate. The old ways of operating that kept many patient care delivery organizations going, even if by inertia, are long gone. Now, the winners will be those that are flexible, proactive, and can find more meaningful ways to collaborate, as well as demonstrate outcomes.
As has been the trend for some time, the solo practice of medicine is becoming increasingly unaffordable for physicians who treat patients here in Queens. So, we continue to assess where opportunities exist for the development of multi-specialty group practices, employment, matching sub specialists with internal medicine practices and various other alliances and appropriate contractual arrangements. Physician integration is paramount. NYHQ-credentialed medical staff are located throughout the area, delivering vital primary and specialty care in our communities. Currently, we have more than a dozen community-based ambulatory care centers - four of which provide primary care in: downtown Flushing, Hollis, Jackson Heights and Fresh Meadows. These facilities are strategically placed to bring NYHQ quality into neighborhoods that need it.
As part of our approach to helping our 1,600 medical staff stay whole and engaged in practice, we urge the physicians in this community to participate in one or more IPAs. Active participation can bring your voices and individual strengths together - building the critical mass that will be necessary to obtain what you need to practice medicine in this state. Now, it isn’t about fighting change, it’s about managing the changes that are coming. You can be a driving force for creating change and a source of stability.
As well, we want all of our affiliated physicians and stakeholders to understand our thinking around the passage of the major health care legislation of 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There are two absolutes: the law was enacted and major Congressional funding appropriations have been set. What remains undefined are the specific regulations that will be written under this act. Obviously, the new Republican majority in the House will have an impact on those regulations, what’s uncertain is exactly how. All providers - including hospitals, long-term care facilities, physicians and other health care professionals - are now responsible for implementing this historic legislation; hence, the formation of new models like “Accountable Care Organizations,” “Medical Homes,” bundled payments and measurement tools for outcomes. We need to work as a team with clinical and non-clinical colleagues (as well as other institutions) to utilize practice-based resources and electronic support systems.
Also, the new legislation brings with it new reimbursement criteria with “pay-for-performance” at its crux. In addition, the federal government has established financial incentives to encourage the meaningful adoption of the electronic medical record (EMR). It is the expectation that all health care organizations, including physician offices, home health agencies - anyone who provides patient care - will use the EMR. Our path to implementing an electronic medical record has been direct and committed. We are well underway with the EMR in our emergency room, in the inpatient setting, and in our community-based ambulatory care centers. We are making a workable platform available to our affiliated physicians. This is one more benefit of NYHQ medical staff membership. Now and moving ahead, we will continue to leverage the strength behind our affiliation with the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System. The System fully supports physician integration and provides access to tools that help us integrate our medical staff.
We are positioned on the right course of alignment with long-term care facilities, voluntary medical staff and others. So, as we enter 2011, my message remains one of unrelenting optimism with the opportunities that can be created by, and for, those that are proactive and collaborative. The time is now.
Stephen S. Mills, F.A.C.H.E.
For the complete President’s Message, visit: http://www.nyhq.org/president_s_message_january_2011