Friday, April 9, 2010

Ambulatory Practice of the Future: Meet the medical director


The announcement of the Ambulatory Practice of the Future (APF) has generated overwhelming interest among the MGH employee community. Many have come to APF information sessions and asked questions about the new model of care -- available only to MGH employees and their spouses or partners. Those who registered to be a part of this new initiative will hear more in June about the next steps for APF enrollment. Registration has temporarily closed, but will reopen in the future.

Last month's information sessions taught the APF team some of the things that MGH employees are interested in learning more about. David C. Judge, MD, medical director of the APF, answers a few of the most frequently asked questions.

Q. Who are the physicians and clinical care team members in the APF?

A. We are in the process of meeting some very qualified and interesting candidates to join our team. At the present time, I will be leading the first care team. I am a board certified internist, who attended UMass Medical School and trained at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. I have been a practicing internist at the Bulfinch Medical Group since 1999 and am very excited to be leading the APF. We will be able to share more information on the rest of our clinical staff in the near future and expect to post profiles at patientregistration once our team is complete. Our goal is to hire an excellent, gender-diverse team that can care for our patients, implement the newly designed care model and who share the same patient-centered values as the rest of the APF team.

Q. Will I be able to choose my physician and care team members?

A. I will be leading the first care team. However, as medical director of the practice, I will also have to attend to some administrative duties. Therefore, I am in the process of hiring a second physician to partner with me to care for the patients who initially enroll. If you enroll during the early months of the APF, we will only have one care team hired and seeing patients. You will initially be assigned to one of the two physicians on this team. We'd like for you to meet them both as well as all the members who comprise this care team. If you feel that you connect better with one physician, we will try to accommodate your request to work primarily with that physician. As the practice grows, we will bring on a second care team and ultimately a third. We expect that over time you'll be able to choose the care team you’d like. We strongly believe in the value of teamwork and would hope that, once you find a team that works for you, you will feel comfortable working with any member of your team.

Q. Will residents be practicing in the APF?

A. Initially, all physicians practicing in the APF will be attending internists. However, we believe that the care model in the APF is exemplary, and we'd like to expose both medical students and residents to this model. We expect to eventually welcome both residents and medical students into the practice, but this doesn’t mean that residents and students will replace your physician on the APF care team. Your physician will always be available to you.

Q. Do I need to change all of my medical providers to APF providers?

A. No. In fact, if you have established relationships with specialists, whether here at the MGH or elsewhere, we welcome the opportunity to work closely with them. The only provider that you will need to change if you join the APF is your primary care physician.

Q. Will joining the APF affect my and my family’s health coverage?

A. No, joining the APF will not affect your or your family’s health coverage in any way. Any services currently covered by your plan will continue to be covered. Your premiums and co-pays also will remain the same.

For more information about the APF, e-mail

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