Practice Management Summit to Address Hospital Employment, Health Care Reform

STS News, Winter 2011 Edition -- The health care environment is in the midst of substantial change—change that may herald a fundamental shift in the practice of cardiothoracic surgery. Our cardiology colleagues, once defiant supporters of entrepreneurial health care, now beleaguered by recent imaging and other cuts, are jockeying to be hired by health systems. But this trend is not restricted to cardiologists. Broad and unprecedented activity in hospital acquisition of U.S. physician practices over the last year has spawned substantial increases in the number of newly employed cardiologists, general surgeons, primary care providers, hospitalists—and, yes, cardiothoracic surgeons.

Are you contemplating employment or in the midst of negotiations with a health system? Chances are good that, if you are not, you may soon be approached. In recent months, the STS Workforce on Practice Management has received several inquiries from members asking important questions about navigating the complexities of health system engagement. The Society does not advocate nor oppose hospital employment; rather it supports whatever situation is best locally or regionally for patients, the specialty, and its members. To this end, a major theme of the 2011 Practice Management Summit will be navigating the layers of engagement surrounding hospital employment.

Looming system-wide health care reforms and threats to reimbursement are ever-present concerns for us all. The turmoil surrounding the SGR formula and associated implications are in need of clarification, as are the new world order of value-based purchasing, bundling, and accountable care organizations. How different will a day in the life of our future practice be? Will there be a new mechanism of reimbursement and, if so, how should we prepare? Should we publicly report our outcomes data and what would be the implication for reimbursement? These are just a few of the many common questions we hope to address, along with other major health care reform issues at the Practice Management Summit during the upcoming STS Annual Meeting.

Given the increased Summit attendance in recent years, the venue and content have been expanded. As in 2010, the four-hour Practice Management Summit will be held as a parallel session to STS/AATS Tech-Con in San Diego, on Sunday, Jan. 30, from 7:50 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The topics this year address current management issues that are of common interest to those in academic or private practice, as well as to practice managers/administrators. Your practice administration colleagues are encouraged to attend; special registration provisions have been made to welcome their participation. The program will cover the following important topics:

  • Reforming Health Care Policy in the U.S.: Potential Impact for CT Surgery
  • Should We Report our Outcomes of Cardiothoracic Surgery to the Public?
  • Revised Projections of Cardiothoracic Surgical Reimbursement for 2011
  • Debate: Hospital Employment is “Good” for Cardiothoracic Surgeons
  • Health System Alignment Stage I: Evaluation Before Deciding
  • Health System Alignment Stage II: Negotiating Your Contract
  • Health System Alignment Stage III: Post Integration and Renegotiation

As always, the goal of the Practice Management Summit is to facilitate a vibrant and open discussion with ample time set aside for questions. While on-site registration is possible, online pre-registration to this important ticketed STS event is strongly encouraged at We look forward to your participation and welcome your discussion.

- Vinay Badhwar, MD, Chair, STS Workforce on Practice Management