A Unified Medical Staff Model

Premier Pulse     August 2020
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By Marc Belcastro, DO, chief medical officer, Premier Health and Miami Valley Hospital

On August 13, an email was sent to the entire medical staff with revisions in the Bylaws that reflect a unified medical staff. This will be posted for 30 days before we begin the voting on September 13. The voting process will also be by email. The potential of a unified medical staff is both exciting and important for our system. Currently there is significant uniformity in the system.

  • One common set of Bylaws, Rules and Regulations
  • One Central Verification Office (CVO) for credentialing
  • 31 standard delineations of privileges across three hospitals
  • Identical policy and procedure concerning physician wellness and physician professional conduct
  • Identical policies for peer review, medical record delinquency
  • Standardization of hospital-based services provided by one group – Pathology; Radiology; Anesthesia, Neonatology
  • Nearly 80 percent of physicians have privileges at more than one facility

What are the advantages of a unified medical staff?

  • Brings together one unified voice to the Premier Board through the Physician Partnership Board (this currently does not exist).
  • SPEED of process resolution with greater communication
  • EFFICIENCY – the approval process for vital changes is reduced
  • SHARING – One credentials committee
  • STANDARDIZATION - where needed
  • CULTURE - Preserves the unique culture of each facility
  • CULTURE – Adds a new culture of oneness for physicians

As a broad overview, there will be one Premier MEC and each hospital will also have an MEC which will be named the Medical Staff Operating Committee (MSOC). Credentialing and privileging will be centralized. Peer review and wellness committees will remain local.

As we have been working on this for the majority of this year, we have received some frequent questions:

Q: If we become one medical staff, can Premier require me to take call for the emergency departments at all Premier hospitals?

A: NO. As one medical staff, physicians will not automatically have clinical privileges at all Premier hospitals unless you specifically apply to have them at each facility through a new streamlined process.

Q: What then is the difference for physicians?

A: The main difference is membership – which is distinct from privileges. Under the unified model, each physician will become a member of the Premier Health Medical Staff. You can have membership without clinical privileges. 

Q: What does membership involve, and is it changing?

A: There are no changes to the current categories of membership – Active, Affiliate and Honorary. Each category will have the same qualifications as they stand today. The primary distinction between the Active category and the Affiliate category is voting rights for Active staff members.

Q: Can physicians choose only one hospital at which to have clinical privileges? As one medical staff, since I’ll be a member at all Premier hospitals, am I then obligated to pay annual dues at all three?

A: A physician can choose to be privileged at only one Premier Health hospital. Annual dues will be associated with clinical privileges, not membership. Physicians will only pay the annual dues for the hospital(s) at which they have been granted clinical privileges.

Q: Are there other health systems regionally or nationally that have done this before?

A: Yes. Our outside consultant assists hospital systems across the country.

Q: If I still have questions or concerns about becoming one medical staff, who should I talk to?

A: You may send your questions to [email protected] or talk to your President, President-Elect, or Chief Medical Officer.

Back to the August 2020 issue of Premier Pulse