Hospices are evolving into advanced palliative care organizations (APCOs)in which care spans organizational and professional boundaries and physician services are integrated into a collaborative model that reconfigures a traditional nurse-centric organization,. Such a convergence will, unsurprisingly, strain an organization’s resources and its roles. For organizational strategic considerations, meeting community needs, and regulatory compliance, medical staff planning improves the likelihood of hospice success.
However, shortages of experienced, fellowship-trained, and Board certified Hospice and Palliative medicine (HPM) physicians and the growing need for such physicians in specific practice areas (long-term care, hospital consultative, home visit) will lead to increased frustrations among hospice executives, clinical staff, and physicians and hinder the achievement of hospices’ strategic goals.
Given the “not if, but when” trends surrounding the role of HPM physicians in a community’s end-of-life care practices, hospices that initiate a medical staff planning process in the short term will provide themselves with the time required to muster and develop the necessary financial and other resources to align their medical staff plan with their strategic objectives. Such a medical staff resource planning service will also help identify potential opportunities to enhance market position through physician recruitment.
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