Friday, October 29, 2010

Leadership meeting describes path for the future

At an Oct. 20 leadership meeting held in the O'Keeffe Auditorium, Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare, joined with supervisors and managers from across the MGH and MGPO to describe the challenges facing Partners and provide an overview of a strategy that will shape a path for the future.

Gottlieb first discussed that, though the state of the economy is uncertainat best, health care costs continue to be disproportionately high and on the rise. Employers and employees have been struggling for years to afford health care insurance premiums, and the situation is worsening. To respond to the challenges in the months and years ahead, he noted, Partners institutions must collaborate to reduce costs and embrace payment reform options. He emphasized that, in doing so, it is crucial Partners not lose sight of its core values.

Leadership from across Partners has been meeting since early this year to identify and define strategies to redesign how care is delivered, making it more integrated and patient-centered while increasing affordability. Gottlieb pointed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Demonstration Project at the MGH as an example of an innovative approach to improving care in a cost-effective manner. He described the formation of three teams -- Care Redesign, Patient Affordability and Reputation -- to lead the way in implementing care and cost reform within Partners institutions. The Reputation team will focus specifically on communicating Partners' commitment to community programs and quality-focused messages through a public education campaign.

Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, reinforced the message about the need for change, explaining that if the MGH and Partners are to have a say in preserving and enhancing the health care system into the future, taking a leadership role locally and nationally now is vital. "We have the opportunity and responsibility -- indeed, an obligation -- to rise to this challenge thoughtfully and aggressively," said Slavin. He pointed to the MGH's 200-year history of meeting many challenges.

David F. Torchiana, MD, MGPO chairman and CEO, and Ann Prestipino, senior vice president of MGH Surgical and Anesthesia Services and Clinical Business Development, and director of the Partners Office of Strategy Implementation, also offered their insight. Emphasizing that good care is efficient care, Torchiana explained that while the MGH and Partners have been through difficult times before, the current health care environment is ominous. He stressed the importance of understanding the urgency and responding thoughtfully. Acknowledging concerns about management from the Partners level rather than locally from the hospitals and practices, Torchiana noted that reform strategy needs to be balanced and collective. "Central decisions are collective decisions, made with the input of each member of our system," he said.

Prestipino closed the presentation by providing an overview of the MGH and MGPO's critical role in the Partners strategic initiatives and encouraging people throughout the system to take an active part in the effort. "We have a clear vision of what needs to be done moving forward," said Prestipino. "I think it's important Mass General help lead the way in this initiative, and we have the talent and experience to do so."

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