Kindred's Commitment to Physicians

By Maggie Cunningham
 “You have all of these different pressures today around who is reimbursing for what,  about who employs whom, about who is caring for what. At the end of the day, the  last time I checked, it’s still the doctor who gets to write the order; it’s still the doctor who gets to decide what the best path for that patient is; it’s still the physician who is the most trusted advisor that each of the patients that we see at Kindred ultimately looks to, to say, ‘what do I do next, doc, to get myself better?’” 

- Benjamin A. Breier, President and CEO, Kindred Healthcare



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To continue our efforts of constantly improving our patients’ care and outcomes, we are investing in new ways to support our physicians – a Pillar of Clinical Excellence here at Kindred.
Kindred’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Marc Rothman, addressed our company-wide commitment to our physicians in a recent video.

As noted above, our world and the healthcare landscape are constantly changing, so we must adapt with it, ensuring our physicians have the tools and resources they need to be successful.

Not long ago, many physicians worked in a private practice setting. Today, over half of that population is directly employed by a hospital, hospital system or large medical practice. 

The demographic makeup of our physician population is also changing. Women are becoming a larger percentage of the total physician workforce, which should come as no surprise given that half of all medical school graduates now are women. And as these younger doctors enter the workforce, a large wave of doctors, especially within the post-acute and long-term care sector, are retiring.

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Dr. Sean Muldoon, Chief Medical Officer of Kindred’s Hospital Division, weighs in: “
This is a really hard time for doctors. For some reason, there has been a myth that when you get out of medical school you enter this land that in a lot of ways had not changed. You are admired, you’re well paid, and you’re sought after.

“That tradition was decades old and now. Because things are so expensive, care is spotty and the needs of the country have changed, we are changing the role of those doctors from the one-man shop to the quarterback of the team.

Because of this evolution, the role of physicians at Kindred is more vital today than ever before. In hospice and acute rehab, for instance, we must work closely with physicians to comply with very specific CMS regulations and guidance. In our hospitals and nursing centers, our physicians are expected to be more involved and engaged in the overall goals and, specifically, in quality measures.

To achieve these goals, we must provide our doctors with the resources they need to improve performance and quality, and have developed a four-part physician strategy to get there:

  • Physician Specific Data 
  • Annual Medical Director Reviews 
  • Education 
  • Engagement 

meddir1Let’s start with the data. Kindred now has physician-specific data that doctors can use to see how their patients are doing, how their work intersects with quality measures, and where there is room for improvements.

Those reports are being used by our Chief Medical Officers, who must now conduct annual review of every branch and main facility Medical Director before their contract is renewed.

Medical schools and residencies don’t always provide extensive training in post-acute or long-term care. Kindred is stepping in to fill that gap with comprehensive physician education programs.

Lastly, when it comes to engagement, frequent and valuable communication is. Because of this, a mobile physician communication platform is being developed to connect Kindred physicians with leadership and each other.

All of these efforts combine to strengthen the PHYSICIAN Pillar of Clinical Excellence, to give our physicians on the front lines the tools they need to be successful.