Don James, D.O., accepted the position of Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs/Chief Medical Officer at Phelps County Regional Medical Center effective April 1, 2011. Dr. James will serve as the Senior VPMA/CMO in addition to continuing to see patients at his clinic, Mid-Missouri Internal Medicine.
“My patients will continue to receive the same level of care as we go forward,” Dr. James said. “The Senior VPMA/CMO work will be in addition to my current practice model. Over time there may be some changes in office scheduling, but all patients will be seen and treated as usual.”
In his new role, Dr. James will be actively involved with the president of the medical staff, Edward Downey, D.O., in coordinating and meeting all of the needs of the medical staff. He will be the medical staff’s direct liaison to the hospital CEO, John Denbo. A few of his primary projects will be to ensure the maximum quality of care by all physicians and maximum utilization efficiency by all physicians.
“The goal is to provide the best level of medical care to the community at the least cost by having standardization of treatment by disease category,” Dr. James said. “We can achieve standardization through designing and implementing guidelines and policies. Standardization is important because you don’t want to have five different internists treating five different pneumonias five different ways. They all might result in good outcomes, but research shows that the best outcomes, for both quality and cost, come from standardization.”
Research has shown that standardization can also shorten average length of stay, quicken recovery, reduce complication rates and reduce costs to both the patient and the hospital.
“The medical staff needs today are very different than when I joined the medical staff in 1975,” Dr. James said. “At that time, there were only 15 other physicians on staff. Today there are more than 105 physicians on the medical staff, representing at least 25 different medical specialties or subspecialties. Along with medical staff development, the hospital has gone from a small country hospital to a large regional medical system. Every thing about the way we provide care today is different. In the next four to five years with the implementation of health care reform, these changes are also going to be dramatic.”
Hospitals across the country are adding VPMA positions as the needs of medical staff leadership evolve. The scope and potential for medical staff development and medical staff integration will continue to broaden in future years. Dr. James also stated that with health care reform, strong leadership is critical.
“Strong leadership is critical to aligning to the new requirements of health care reform,” Dr. James said. “The needs of leadership and medical staff development continue to increase. It’s critical that we do it right. Our current hospital leadership is well positioned to effectively meet these challenges and position us to continue the strong leadership role for health care that we have in the community. We have an outstanding medical staff, quality nursing, exceptional electronic medical records and technology and outstanding inpatient and outpatient medical services. Our hospital is the envy of communities our size and bigger; it is something to be proud of. We want to enter the era of health care reform retaining all of these qualities while improving on each of them.”
Dr. James has seen patients at Mid-Missouri Internal Medicine for 35 years, served on the PCRMC Board of Trustees for seven years and has held numerous leadership roles on the hospital medical staff.
“During my last 35 years, I have held essentially every leadership position on the medical staff, including chairman of the department of internal medicine for 12 years, Chief of Staff for two separate terms, Vice Chief of Staff, and membership on the Medical Executive Committee for at least 20 years. My leadership experience has uniquely qualified me to help the medical staff and PCRMC complete this transition of health care reform.”