Practice Management Columns

Practice Management: What Surgeons Need to Know about Financial Arrangements with Hospitals
STS News, Winter 2020 — Practicing cardiothoracic surgeons have multiple pathways for entering into formal financial arrangements with hospitals or health systems.

Practice Management: Strong Surgeon-Administrator Relationship Is Key for Healthy Work Environment
STS News, Fall 2019 — Just as a good physician-patient relationship can improve patient outcomes, a good physician-administrator relationship can improve the work environment and ease employee burnout. As a result, the importance of cardiothoracic surgeons and their administrators working as part of a team cannot be underscored enough.

Practice Management: The Systemic Misuse of Physician Compensation Survey Data
STS News, Summer 2019 — If physicians used clinical research the way that the health care industry uses physician compensation surveys, patient outcomes would be as unpredictable as practice valuations. Most market participants believe that compensation surveys establish a fair market value of physician compensation. Defining ranges of fair market value of physician compensation using these surveys, however, reveals a systemic misunderstanding of the data and leads to an indefensible valuation practice.

Practice Management: A Systems Approach Can Improve Surgical Outcomes and Patient Safety
STS News, Spring 2019 — Good surgical skills combined with a high level of team performance are key to achieving low mortality rates. In order to achieve that high performance, you need to take a systems approach—optimizing the working environment, paying attention to equipment design and function, understanding the subtleties of decision-making in a dynamic and often fluid situation, and enhancing team communication.

Learn How Surgeons Can Succeed in a Changing Health Care Landscape
STS News, Winter 2019 — Despite many years of clinical training, most cardiothoracic surgeons aren’t provided with sufficient education in a key area of career development—optimizing their value to their organizations. Speakers at the upcoming Practice Management Summit during the STS Annual Meeting in San Diego on Sunday, January 27, will seek to close that knowledge gap, helping attendees understand their value and obtain appropriate compensation.

The Surgeon’s Role in Building Reliable and High-Functioning Surgical Teams
STS News, Fall 2018 — Having very challenging surgical cases is nothing new for cardiothoracic surgeons. We recently had one such case. I say “we” because most surgeons understand that surgery is a team sport. Teamwork is at the core of high performance and consistency. Good teams function as a whole—its members helping out where needed and stepping up when required. In our specialty, this behavior can save lives.

Making the Switch to an EHR System
STS News, Summer 2018  Most cardiothoracic surgical practices have converted, are converting, or will convert from paper medical records to electronic health records (EHRs). The benefits of an EHR system include transparency, improved documentation and communication, reduced omissions, improved reporting, remote access to records, and increased collections.

Take Advantage of Practice Resources on
STS News, Spring 2018 — Your technical skills in the operating room are, of course, essential to developing a thriving cardiothoracic surgical career. But understanding how your procedures should be coded, navigating contract negotiations, and finding a good mentor also are important elements in ensuring your success. To assist cardiothoracic surgeons with all aspects of practice management, the Society offers a wealth of tools on its website.

Can Physician Leadership Cure the Burnout Epidemic?
STS News, Winter 2018  Recent surveys have shown that physician professional and personal dissatisfaction and burnout rates are at all-time highs. Increasing financial pressures, as well as the rapidly accelerating rate of technological change in medicine, have taken their toll on physicians of all specialties, including ours.

Working with Cardiologists: From Heresy to Dogma
STS News, Fall 2017  After completing my cardiothoracic surgery training in 1992, I joined a private practice cardiac surgery group in Pennsylvania. As the 90s progressed, the challenges to private practice began to mount.

Timely Extubation in Cardiac Surgery: A Team Sport?
STS News, Summer 2017  With recent efforts by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to bundle payments for cardiac surgical services, alternative payment models (APMs) are now front and center in health care reform. An emphasis has been placed on coordination of care and stakeholder collaboration. Payer demand for value is here to stay.

How Cardiothoracic Surgeons Can Excel in an Employment Model Environment
STS News, Spring 2017  Proposed changes in health care finance and delivery have stimulated renewed interest in securing our specialty’s place in this new order. At the 2017 Practice Management Summit, several experts shared how cardiothoracic surgeons can best function in this evolving environment.

Bundled Payments for CABG: What CT Surgeons Need to Know
STS News, Winter 2017  Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, CMS has been seeking to promote cooperative, value-based care. Alternative payment models are one way CMS is attempting to drive quality and value.

The Importance of the Cardiovascular Service Line in the Shift to Value
STS News, Fall 2016 As health care reimbursement continues to shift from fee-for-service to a value-based model, organizations must continually evolve to ensure their success. Providing care in a value-based framework essentially requires delivering evidence-based, high-quality care in an efficient, cost-effective manner and being transparent about outcomes.

Shift from Volume to Value Drives Hospital Employment, Changes Compensation Models
STS News, Summer 2016  The increasing emphasis on quality over quantity is driving a number of changes in cardiothoracic surgical practice, and cardiothoracic surgeons are well-positioned to take advantage of these opportunities.