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MGMA 2022: Taking your medical practice to the next level


Practice and MGMA leaders give their advice for physicians and medical practices.

When you lead a medical practice, it can be hard to know where to turn to for advice.

As part of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) President Halee Fischer-Wright, MD, MMM, FAAP, FACMPE, keynote presentation at the organization’s Medical Practice Excellence Leaders Conference in Boston, she held a roundtable discussion with three industry leaders and the conversation ranged from dealing with inflation to staff burnout.

The quartet finished off the session by each giving a piece of critical advice aimed at helping the assembled take their practices to their next phase.

The following transcript has been edited for clarity and space.

Fischer-Wright: What piece of critical advice would you give our audience today to really help guide them into our next phase?

Robert Bush, FACMPE, CEO of The Austin Diagnostic Clinic: We work in a very serious business, you know, we're dealing with people's lives, we're dealing with people's health. We're dealing with people who are coming to our sites, fearful and don’t know what tomorrow brings and they share that stress with us. The thing that I try to do all the time with my staff and our colleagues is: remember to laugh.

You know life is serious, but it's not so serious that you cannot live. So, we always want to figure out something that we can always have a joke. So, every week, I steal stupid dad jokes, and I send them out across the organization.

Sometimes I get messages back saying that was the stupidest thing I've ever done, a lot of times more it comes back with smiles and stuff like that. So, I think the idea is: okay, even though it's serious, we have to make sure that we can control the stress associated with what we do on a daily basis with humor. And realize, okay, the sun will come up tomorrow. We’ve faced tough times before, we can do it again, and have fun doing it.

Susan Turney, MD, MS, FACP, FACMPE, CEO of Marshfield Clinic Health System: I think just being authentic is really key. For me, passion for being where I'm at today is just such a blessing, and I hope that others can feel the gratitude that comes from serving patients, regardless of whether you're doing health care.

And it's not just about the patient, it's about their families, it's about their communities. It's about the vitality of where they work and live. So, we have such a big effect on people's lives, but I think authenticity is probably the thing that really hits.

Jeffrey Smith, CPA, CGMA, MBA, FACMPE, CEO of Piedmont HealthCare PA: No idea is off the table. We are in a time where medicine is changing so quickly, that we can't keep up. The three of us: we're dealing with operations, we're dealing with finances, and yet we need to evolve our organizations so they can survive.

We need people who can bring those ideas to us. We need people who implement those ideas, and, the thing is, we have to trust our staff, we have to make sure we have the right people on the bus, as they say. And I think that's really what's going to allow our organizations to really fly.

Bush: You also need to invest in yourself. I applaud everybody here at the conference. Because you're investing in yourself again.

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