The Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, recently received a grant for the purpose of developing and implementing a one-of-a-kind physician leadership program for Kentucky Medical Association (KMA) physician members that prepares them to be leaders in the transition of health care delivery, along with the improvement of public health at the local level. The grant was awarded by The Physicians Foundation – a national nonprofit that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and help facilitate the delivery of healthcare to patients.
Known as the Kentucky Physician Leadership Initiative (KPLI), this program is designed to ultimately improve the quality of care in Kentucky by educating physicians about how the new emphasis on health care system transparency could change the way they and the hospitals in which they serve are viewed by the public and reimbursed by the government. The education will be provided through the Kentucky Medical Association’s Continuing Medical Education Department and made available to members of the KMA.
“This is an important initiative designed to educate physicians on best practices relative to healthcare transparency,” said Alan Plummer, MD, Physicians Foundation Vice President and chairman of the Grants committee. “We are pleased to fund and support the Kentucky Physician Leadership Initiative and the great work that will emanate from this grant.”
KFMC will offer an initial KPLI Leadership Seminar in the spring of 2015 that will focus on how physicians and hospitals can achieve accurate and meaningful public comparisons on government-run websites known as the Physician Compare Website and the Hospital Compare Website. In addition, physicians will learn about new community health data reported by hospitals that can be used at the local level to improve the health of communities in Kentucky.
The Physician Compare Website and Hospital Compare Website gather data from Medicare, Medicaid and other sources and make the data available to the public. While such data can be useful, it is also subject to errors – sometimes significant – which can confuse and possibly mislead patients. Such data should be accurate, understandable and meaningful in order for it to be used to improve health care in Kentucky. The data provided on the Hospital Compare Website is already being used to alter payments to hospitals, with many suffering losses in revenues. Physicians will soon face a similar situation.
“This grant will allow KFMC and KMA to educate physicians and hospitals better about these websites and how they operate,” said Lindy Lady, KMA Medical Business Advocacy Manager. “It is vitally important that physicians be made aware of their use since the public may utilize the sites as the place to pick a physician and measure his or her value. Ultimately, we want the information on the websites to be accurate and helpful for patients.”
KFMC will also offer individualized seminars to a limited number of select hospitals and area physicians, with an emphasis on local data. This approach is designed to improve not only the data for these medical providers, but the quality of care provided in a specific community. KFMC will then help the hospital and a physician leader develop a local public health initiative, with funding for the initiative provided by the KPLI.