This case study demonstrates how to develop physician leadership in an employed physician network through creation of a physician advisory council.



This Southeastern hospital system serves a county with a population of about 500,000. They had a good-sized employed physician group, with well over 100 physicians, but most were hospital-based or specialists hired to provide call coverage to support the hospital’s Trauma Designation.

Despite the group’s size, HSG’s assessment revealed that the network was in the growth mode of the Physician Network Growth Phases. This phase of development is characterized by the lack of:

  • A group culture
  • A group identity/brand
  • Physician engagement in network decision making
  • Inconsistencies in operations
  • Focus on value-based incentives.

The hospital’s CEO and CMO recognized the need to increase physician engagement and develop a group culture to successfully compete under value-based reimbursement.



As part of a network management outsourcing contract, HSG assisted the system with the creation of a Physician Governance Council (PGC). The council is comprised of five physicians, not counting the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, who also sits on the PGC, and includes additional physicians at large who serve on subcommittees in the following areas:

  • Practice Operations
  • Quality
  • IT
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Compensation


To date, the council has been involved in all eight areas of a high-performing physician network:

Strategy: The PGC is driving the development of a group strategy.

Culture: The PGC developed mission and values statements and is helping to create a group newsletter and reinforce the culture within the practices.

Quality: The quality subcommittee has begun to evaluate quality reporting and the development of quality dashboard reports.

Brand/Identity: The PGC is selecting a name for the group and will work with the system’s marketing department to integrate it with the system brand.

Infrastructure: The IT subcommittee is helping with the selection of a new EMR/PMS.

Financial Sustainability: The PGC’s finance subcommittee is assisting in the development of financial dashboards for the employed group.

Aligned Compensation: The PGC’s compensation subcommittee is helping to redesign provider compensation to standardize the contract structure and include value-based incentives.

Physician Leadership/Governance: The PGC was established with two intents. First and foremost is its role in overseeing network operations.  Second, the six subcommittees afford opportunities for physicians interested in leadership to learn more about the organization and hone their leadership skills.

For more information, contact Terry McWilliams, M.D., Chief Clinical Consultant, at or (502) 614-4292.

Terrence R. McWilliams, MD, FAAFP

Chief Clinical Officer and Managing Director, Employed Provider Networks

Neal D. Barker

Partner and Managing Director, Compensation and Compliance