Medical Staff Update: UVMC

Premier Pulse     March 2019

Gelbart_HS_350x350By Michael Gelbart, MD, medical staff president, Upper Valley Medical Center

Most of us prefer our routine. The comfort of the familiar. The ease of doing what we have always done. But change is inevitable, and those who are able to embrace change and envision its potential set themselves up for greater success and greater happiness. 

Medicine and the health care delivery system in which we practice has changed greatly since my days at medical school. The science fiction of a digital age with electronic medical records, electronic billing, and artificial intelligence in medicine is a present-day reality. New payment models, quality metrics, and ever-increasing documentation requirements are a part of our lives. Insurance companies play an even greater role in deciding the care of our patients. Administration is under pressure to succeed in the atmosphere of shrinking margins and decreased reimbursement. It sounds grim, and burnout among physicians is at an all-time high. The suicide rate among medical professionals has, in fact, surpassed that of our military veterans! Yet, we are still physicians. We entered this profession as a noble calling, and we must find a way to navigate these seas of change while caring for both our patients and ourselves. The first step is to admit to ourselves that we cannot stop change. It is coming whether we like it or not. That is not to say that we are helpless in the face of change. By taking an active role, we can both prepare ourselves for change and help to mold change and its impact on our lives. 

As a radiologist at Upper Valley Medical Center, change is very real. UVMC has been the only "game in town" in the north Dayton market during my career at UVMC. We have been fortunate to have little outside competition. But, change is upon us. We can lament the change and do nothing, simply waiting to see how new competition impacts our practices, our patients, and this community. Alternatively, we can band together as physicians and work together to maintain our position in Troy. We can work hard to recruit new primary care physicians, the backbone of any healthy organization. We can expand specialty and surgical services through innovation (new procedures or services) and strategic investment (increased specialty presence, whether by recruiting new specialties to the area or by educating our communities about what high level services we offer locally). We can work toward new efficiencies. 

Change has also hit very close to home for me with Premier Health's new imaging integration plan. It is not what I had ever planned for and not what I wanted. But, guess what? ...The change will be good. I have already met some fantastic radiologists from Miami Valley Hospital (RPI) as we have initiated integration. I have worked "side by side" (digitally, anyway) with them over recent weeks. I see the potential in having more partners with more expertise and the ability to expand services to meet our competition head on. I've been blessed to have the partners and team with whom I have worked at UVMC and Atrium Medical Center for the past decade. I look forward to facing "change" with our new expanded team. 

"There were people who went to sleep last night, poor and rich and white and black, but they will never wake again. 
And those dead folks would give anything at all for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of plowing. 
So you watch yourself about complaining. 
What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it."

- Maya Angelou 

Back to the March 2019 issue of Premier Pulse

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