WHA Physician Leaders Council Tackles Myriad Issues

CEO survey results on physician leadership, WHA advocacy successes, medical-dental integration and establishing a rural physician leader roundtable are among the many topics discussed

December 19, 2019

Mark Kaufman, MD, WHA chief medical officer, presented the results of WHA’s recent CEO survey on physician leadership. This survey complements WHA’s 2018 CMO survey. The survey’s purpose is to better understand the CEO perspective on physician leadership and to guide WHA’s future educational initiatives. In general, there was a great deal of congruence between the two surveys but also some differences.

With respect to the three greatest challenges that physician leaders face:
CEO response:
1. Adequate time to do the work
2. Physician burnout
3. Leadership skills and training
CMO response:
1. Physician engagement
2. Physician burnout, especially the EHR burden
3. Disruptive physicians

With respect to what single issue is most likely to keep you up at night:
CEO response:
1. Physician leader burnout and retention
2. Physician leadership skills
3. Succession planning
CMO response:
1. Recruitment, physician workforce supply
2. Quality and patient safety
3. Physician engagement
4. Disruptive physicians

Not surprisingly, the Physician Leaders Council discussion on this topic was lively. WHA will use this information to help shape physician leader-focused initiatives going forward.

Matthew Stanford, WHA general counsel, reviewed recent WHA advocacy wins for its member organizations and physicians, including the final Wisconsin state budget that resulted in a $49 million increase (73%) in Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments, a $4.9 million increase (800%) in Rural Critical Care (RCC) hospital payments, a 33% increase in Medicaid reimbursement to psychiatrists and APNP-psych nurses, and $70 million for the insurance market stability program. Other advocacy highlights included reauthorization of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and passage of a comprehensive Medicaid telehealth reform package. Steve Kulick, MD, chair of the Physician Leaders Council, characterized the telehealth bill as a “huge win” and pointed out that telehealth reform was a major focus of WHA’s Advocacy Day in 2018. Dr. Kulick added: “The passage of the telehealth package exemplifies the positive impact that WHA Advocacy Day participants can have on legislative outcomes that will benefit our patients.”

Other significant issues discussed at the Dec. 11 Physician Leaders Council meeting included:

Finalization of a 2019 update to the WHA Physician Engagement and Retention Toolkit. The Toolkit now includes a section on physician wellness, links to a recent Mayo Clinic publication identifying nine organizational strategies to reduce physician burnout, and a new report from the National Academy of Medicine that focuses on a systems approach to address clinician burnout.
  • Representatives from the Children’s Health Alliance presented an integrated dental hygienist model in which dental hygienists function as part of the primary care team, providing preventive care within the medical clinic setting, particularly for young children not yet enrolled in school. This sparked much interest and discussion among PLC members.
  • The Physician Leaders Council continues its discussion and work regarding how to reduce the burden of redundant annual compliance training for physicians who care for patients at multiple hospitals. 
  • The launch of WHA’s Rural Physician Leader Roundtable that will debut in 2020 in collaboration with the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC).
  • WHA’s 2019 Health Care Workforce Report.
  • WHA’s upcoming Physician Leader Development Conference on March 13 and 14.
  • WHA’s 2020 Advocacy Day on March 18.

This story originally appeared in the December 19, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter