Physician Network Transformation

Employed Physician Network Transformation – Mon Health Medical Group

Originally published by American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) on June 7, 2021

By David Goldberg, President/CEO, Mon Health

Like many health systems, Mon Health’s employed physician network has created new challenges. Mon’s network grew substantially over the past decade through practice acquisition and incremental recruitment. However, due to the nature of the medical group’s growth, the providers within the group were not culturally or operationally aligned. Many continued to operate as they had pre-acquisition. This created challenges and inconsistencies in operations and limited Mon Health’s ability to move as one to address strategic opportunities or challenges. 

These challenges were exacerbated by the breadth of the physician enterprise. The medical group served nine counties in three states, and the employed providers served patients in all major health system service lines. Because of the geographic distribution, the providers predominantly interacted with hospital executives at the local level, who were more focused on hospital operations than building consistency across the medical group.

Mon Health leadership desired to integrate the employed practices into one multispecialty group to drive the future success of the health system and its member hospitals. The challenge was how to transform a somewhat loose confederation of practices into a unified force, with consistent quality, common strategies and operational approaches that helped drive excellence.

In the ACHE webinar on June 15, “Employed Physician Network Transformation,”my presentation partners from HSG, Travis Ansel and Terry McWilliams, MD, and I will share in detail how we have approached that challenge. We focused first on developing a shared vision of an ideal Mon Health Medical Group. That vision, which is a description of the group we need to create over the next 10 years, was developed with active engagement from about a dozen physicians and APPs within the medical group. The vision ultimately focused on nine priorities, including issues such as culture, physician engagement, quality, financial sustainability, brand, strategic growth and provider well-being.

A key element of the work related to management infrastructure. Mon Health created an integrated organizational structure and management infrastructure that are consistent with the group’s size and scale. That step proved crucial, as it provides the management horsepower to implement the vision and its supporting strategies. That structure was dyad focused, with physician and management leaders paired at various levels of the organization. The infrastructure also built a provider leadership structure to ensure providers are active participants in the strategy and operations of the network going forward.

Much of our ongoing work related to that provider leadership structure. Mon Health needs that leadership group to understand the organization’s strategy and how Mon Health Medical Group fits into and helps propel that strategy. That provider leadership group needs to help manage the group within the system’s financial realities. The leadership group also needs to guide the culture development and quality focus of the medical group.

In an associated ACHE webinar, we discussed how we tackled all these issues and how HSG guided us in those efforts. And we will examine the work that still needs to be completed to transform the Mon Health Medical Group into an integrated multispecialty group; one that can reduce variation in operations and clinical care delivery, as well as support the organization’s overall success—now and in the future.

David Goldberg is President/CEO, Mon Health, Morgantown, W.Va.

Travis Ansel

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Strategy

Terrence R. McWilliams, MD, FAAFP

Chief Clinical Officer and Managing Director, Employed Provider Networks