As hospices and palliative care services evolve into accountable palliative care organizations with greater scope and influence over late-life care within their communities, a "new" physician executive role is emerging along the career path for HPM physicians. This role is broader than the traditional senior medical director or chief medical officer positions, and is progressing toward what we refer to as the "chief community palliative care officer".
These physician executive positions have proven to be instrumental in shaping late-life care practices by applying management competencies to:
-build and sustain relationships that evolve into community-wide palliative care networks
-disseminate throughout a community the use of metrics and evidence-based practices to hold practitioners to high standards of performance
-inspire referring physicians and HPM medical staff members to meet clinical outcomes and family satisfaction metrics
-envision and stimulate a change process that coalesces the community around new models of late-life care
Daunting challenges, to be sure. As hospice executives and HPM physicians (and nurse practitioners) come to grips with rules around eligibility and face-to-face recertification requirements, we would all do well to remain mindful of the strategic leadership objectives that will ultimately determine how successful we are in transforming late-life care in the US. We've seen the importance of HPM leadership in exemplar communities across America (some of which have featured in this blog) - assembling the right mix of intellectual capital, at the right time (what we refer to as bellwether practices) becomes one of the must-have competencies of late-life care organizations.
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