This past week we completed the 35th LEAD (Leadership and Development) course which I began in 2002, shortly after assuming the role as National Chief Medical Officer of TeamHealth.  Since inception, we have had the privilege of teaching and inspiring over 1600 medical directors.  This was my final course.  I will discuss what it means to “retire” in future blogs.

The LEAD course has evolved over the years and now is responsible to introducing new TEAMHealth Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Urgent Care Clinic, Orthopedist, OB-GYN and Anesthesiology Medical Directors to the culture of TEAMHealth and to the sundry, important duties of their leadership roles.  In an intense, three day process we cover all of the resources, tools and concepts that they must assimilate and practice in their life-long learning as a leader, mentor and and manager of their health care teams.

LEAD is a rapid fly-over of the rhetoric and vocabulary…and an introduction to the networking and horizontal communications our medical leaders must embrace to survive in a rapidly growing, huge national, virtual community that must care for over 11.5 million patients every year.  I have tied the entire program to a “master scenario” that profiles an imaginary hospital contract in trouble – one that is beset with a new administration (hence, the loss of all “good will”), a dysfunctional provider group with impaired physicians, staffing shortages, recruitment challenges and poor performance metrics.  Aligned to the master scenario are numerous topics, including: negotiation, project management, executive coaching, crucial conversations, DISC profiling and emotional intelligence, clinical informatics, interdisciplinary integration, client retention, recruitment and retention technique, complaint and conflict management, performance evaluations,flow dynamics, public speaking and the strategy of meetings.  Our physician student leaders (new directors and old-hands) come away exhausted but exhilarated from the experience.

I have been blessed to be assisted by a terrific team of physicians, nurses, administrators and staff from all over the country who have honed their presentation skills over the years.  They include:

– Greg Brown MD and Ethan Bachrach MD (Clinical Informatics);

– Nathan Schlicher MD JD, Lu Quintero MD, and Mark Jergens MD (Risk & Claims Management)

– Lynn Massingale MD, Greg Roth, Oliver Rogers, Barbara Blevins, John Grimes and Mike Snow (Health Care Future, Client Retention)

– Steven Holtzclaw MD, Wolf Schynoll MD, Roger Brooksbank MD and Randall Dabbs MD (Performance Evaluation & Supervision),

– Sonya Pease MD and Jeffrey Weiss D.O. (Anesthesiology Management); Jasen Gundersen MD, Dan Virnich MD  and Chris Frost MD (Hospital Medicine Management)

– John Proctor MD (Leadership), John Staley MD, Susan Taut MD; Kimberly Moore MD, Laura Dollison DO,  Allison McDonald MD and Loretta Saminiego MD (Recruitment and Retention)

– Gary Zimmer MD, Clark Morres MD and Mark Harris MD; Chuck Noon PhD (Flow Science); James George MD JD, Rob Strauss MD (Negotiation)

– Gayle Galan MD and Susanne Danis RN PhD (Wellness & Litigation Stress), Phil Chase MD (EMTALA)

– Greg Gaar, Steven Schwartz DO and Mike Silverman MD (Conflct & Complaint Management); Tracy Sanson MD (Branding, Generational Recruitment, Change Management)

– Tom Graber MD and Theresa Tavernero RN (DISC Profiling & Emotional Intelligence)

– Shawn Comerford (TEAMHealth Institute);

– Eric Heckerson (Operational Improvement) Sarah Davis PMP (Project Management); Laura Smith, Teresa Stahnke and Shelly Doolittle (LEAD Project administrative support)

In the course we emphasized the following:

– The CORE duties of a medical leader: 1. Take great care of the patient ; 2. Take great care of self and family ; 3. Take great care of your troops and team and 4. use the resources & learn the leadership & management skills of TEAMHealth to take great care of the contractual relationships of all clients.

We also taught about the differences between management and leadership and the importance of leaders developing “referent” power.  To the team that taught all of this, the managers who support our medical directors – we have succeeded in achieving an enduring 95% retention rate amongst our medical director community. For all of that and for the important contribution our company makes to the health care of millions of people every year…Thank You.

Great course…great teachers…great students…great company.