M.E.N.T.O.R.

M-methodical (be methodical in your approach to leading)
E-engage your peeps (round with purpose, build relationships, ask questions)
N-notes (carry a note card, build a reminder list, -always save notes to personnel files about “catching staff doing positive things” as well as coaching and counseling moments.
T-trust-build trust-be fair- no favorites! Do what you say you’re going to do -every time. 
O-opportunities-look for them in unlikely people and places, remain open minded (Tilt your head a different way)

R– respect is not a crown bestowed upon you-it is earned by building trust and positive relationships with both your internal and external customers

“As a leader you are truly a Mentor” — Maura Corvino 

Confronting the Doctor Shortage

Confronting the Doctor Shortage is a Crucial Part of Healthcare Reform

The national debate on healthcare reform has provoked newspaper headlines that tell a different story every day: President Obama says greater efficiency in the healthcare system can save trillions, while some legislators insist the cost of reform will make it prohibitive, and a growing campaign suggests the proposed changes would lead to a shortage of drugs, long waits for surgery and additional horrors.

And while there’s certainly no shortage of opinion, one thing everyone seems to agree upon is that a major obstacle to the Obama plan is the serious shortage of physicians at a time when the need will be the greatest, with an aging population of Baby Boomers and the prospect of millions of uninsured people gaining coverage.

This shortage of doctors exists not only in rural America, but also in suburban communities such as Greenwich, CT where we have seen a shortage of primary-care physicians as high as 15 percent. The implications are troubling. Patients have difficulty making appointments, fewer choices are available, and people must travel further distances for care. Add to this equation, the increased workload. One doctor recently had more than 30 patients in Greenwich Hospital. This system clearly cannot sustain itself.

The Obama administration recognizes the supply of doctors will have to increase, but this cannot be achieved by simply reallocating Medicare payments from specialists to primary care physicians, which is one of the ideas being bandied about.

The problem requires a systemic response, not a quick fix solution. We have bailed out entire industries. Perhaps it’s time for the administration to look long and hard at the possibility of “bailing out” physicians by providing an incentive for young people to become doctors with a creative plan for partial tuition reimbursement.

The fundamental problem is the lack of financial incentives for students considering a degree in medicine. Medical students, who accumulate debt of up to $320,000 through ten years of school, generally earn only a salary of $40,000 as interns and residents. The stark imbalance between expensive education and low salary certainly dissuades many from pursuing a medical career.

Financial matters only exacerbate this shortage: Primary-care physicians typically earn $140,000,which is an extremely challenging salary given the exceptionally high cost of living in Fairfield County, CT.

The problem, of course, goes beyond the tuition costs that medical students incur and their salary upon graduating. When they begin practicing, they confront an additional challenge: Medicare, Medicaid and managed care all combine to ratchet down their rate.

Some in the administration propose reallocating Medicare payments from specialists to primary-care physicians, but this is not the solution to solving the shortage of doctors. Specialists undergo even more training and are more procedure- oriented than general practitioners, and the reduction of their payments would only contribute further to the problem.

It is time for the administration to think creatively in dealing with a situation that is growing progressively worse. One possibility is for the government to fund more scholarships and increase the availability of grants for top medical students.

Reform must look at many different factors, and it is clear that educating physicians must be a priority.

There must be a decent incentive for the men and women who want to devote their lives to caring for the sick. The problem will become worse as the population ages and people require more services.

Once we make the system more efficient and get the incentives of providers aligned, there may be enough money available to reallocate.

As a nation, we’ve committed to the concept of the “bail out” and providing for our legislators’ pet projects, so why can’t we cover tuition costs for medical students and allow a fair compensation once they begin to practice medicine?

A simple results-oriented strategy would be to lend medical students the money and then forgive the loans for superior performance by those who carry a good grade point average.

Such an approach would encourage excellence – which is something we strive for in healthcare – while increasing the number of physicians so we can satisfy what promises to be a burgeoning demand in the coming years.