Hospital overhauls leadership structure, empowers docs

Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines is reorganizing its leadership structure to give physicians more control and responsibility, reported the Des Moines Register. The nonprofit Catholic hospital aims to improve patient care by integrating clinical and administrative tasks, it said in a statement Friday.

"The current structure is very hospital-centric and less physician-centric," Mercy CEO David Vellinga told the Des Moines Register.

But with the new integrated structure, seven physician leaders will team up with a non-medical administrative coworker and be held accountable for the performance of the particular area they supervise, such as surgery, orthopedics or specialty medicine, according to the press release.

With the idea that physician engagement and leadership are essential to delivering the right care in the right place at the right time, Mercy Medical's physician leaders will direct clinical innovations and operational improvements, coordinating care across its three campuses, according to the press release.

"I call this a no-regrets strategy," Vellinga told the Register, "in that, regardless of what happens with reform, integrating physicians into leadership positions will let us achieve higher quality, better experience and the ability to better reduce health care costs."

The hospital will launch the new two-person administrative teams Feb. 1 without having to add any new administrative functions or change staffing, the press release noted.

To learn more:
- here's the Mercy Medical press release
- read the Des Moines Register article