VMS Foundation proposes series of physician leadership initiatives
Following a series of structured interviews on physician leadership with 17 Vermont physicians and three hospital CEOs, the VMS Education & Research Foundation has proposed to develop a series of support resources for physician leaders in the state, including four pilot "physician leadership communities" and an annual statewide leadership conference.
The results of the Foundation's effort, as well as numerous representative comments from the interviews conducted, were summarized in a recently released report titled “Physician Leadership Interview and Action Plan."
Two of the four Physician Leadership Communities – Vermont Hospitalists and Vermont Physician Executives – will be statewide, while the others, Rutland Regional Medical Center and Franklin/Grand Isle County Chronic Pain, will be aimed at those specific communities.
According to the report, the interviews led the Foundation to the conclusion that a “onesize-fits-all-in-one-place” approach to offering leadership development and support is not what physicians want or need. "The best solution," it said, "would be to deploy resources to teach and mentor leaders in the context that makes the learning and support valuable to them – their place of work."
Vermont Hospitalists will focus on providing a place for the state's hospitalists to network, either in person or virtually. Vermont Physician Executives similarly will seek to offer an opportunity for doctors with executive responsibilities to share experiences and obtain leadership and management support.
The Rutland Regional Medical Center effort will build on an initiative already begun by that community health care association to develop a physician leadership curriculum. The Foundation will partner with the Center to "to identify the best approach for leadership development and identification of training/teaching resources from outside their community."
The Franklin/Grand Isle County Chronic Pain pilot will address management of chronic pain and related abuse of prescription drugs, an enormous public health problem in that local area and in Vermont, and will include community leaders who are non-physicians as well as physicians.
The final proposal from the initiative, a statewide annual leadership conference, is aimed at allowing the Foundation to "continue to hear from Vermont physicians on their needs to continue to strive for the highest levels of professionalism." As one of the interviewees summarized the objective, “Give [physicians] forums to speak from. Ask them questions. Actually seek their advice, and then follow it.”
According to the Foundation, the leadership initiative is driven by "concern within the physician and hospital community about diminishing physician involvement in leadership roles and its deleterious impact on the quality of care in the state," as well as on retention and recruitment of the state’s physician workforce. Both issues were highlighted in a previous Foundation undertaking, the 2011 Physician Needs Assessment, and led to the leadership interviews, which queried physician leaders and hospital CEOs on their views about key skills and attributes of leaders and resources needed to nurture leadership in the future.