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Open Mike - 2010

Innovation is where we shine
September 8, 2010

I am very excited to share that the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) has honored our work with its 2010 Acclaim Award. This acknowledgement is especially meaningful because it goes well beyond typical awards for individual improvement projects. The Acclaim Award is about delivery system transformation. It’s a huge validation for a broad, dramatic body of innovative work spanning many years. So before I go any further, I want to say thank you, and well done!

When the AMGA representative called me, she said something that was as important as the award itself. She wanted me to know that we had set a new standard with our application. We “blew the judges away” with how we have touched every aspect of what touches our patients.

High performing AMGA member organizations such as Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins Medicine have competed for the Acclaim Award since it was first given in 1999. Past recipients include Mercy Clinics, Inc., Luther Midelfort-Mayo Health System, Henry Ford Medical Group, Health Partners, and Park Nicollete Health Services, among others.

The Acclaim Award honors physician-directed organizations that best incorporate six attributes that the Institute of Medicine has written about: care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. Our physician group and our delivery system is among the best of the best in doing this—day in and day out—and our strong, forward-thinking integrated system creates an operational environment where this work can flourish.

From cultural changes, to training and education, to implementation of the electronic medical record—everything we’re recognized for is linked by an Enterprise-wide commitment to remove affordability as a barrier to high quality care. We were selected by a panel of judges based on our ability to "move the bar even higher and demonstrate to others that all of the attributes of a high-performing healthcare delivery system are within reach." 

I can’t wait to accept this award on your behalf at the end of September at the AMGA’s Annual Institute for Quality Leadership in Florida. Our group will also give a formal presentation to the assembly, and an issue of the AMGA’s Group Practice Journal will focus on your work.
Yes, it’s a lot of attention focused on us, and some of you tell me you’re not comfortable with it—that our improvements aren’t done, aren’t evenly taking hold, aren’t perfect. There are times I feel the same way, even as I recognize that it’s all a process, and our direction is definitely the right one. But I am proud of what you all are doing, and it is your time to be recognized for what you have done.

To do more, to keep at it, we must continue to attract new patients, and retain our major purchasers. So when the Washington State Health Care Authority taps us to lead a statewide accountable care pilot, and when 60 Group Health clinicians are named “top docs,” people pay attention. What people? City, state, county, and school district employees who have a choice at open enrollment each year. Businesses from Boeing to the sole proprietor who buys an individual plan. People in line at the grocery store, thumbing through magazines.

Innovation leads to recognition, and you can’t deny it: the market is drawn to winners. Third-party validation makes people want to be a part of what we have to offer. The intensity of the attention has been growing, but we’re still grounded where we always have been. Our model of "integrated care" has guided Group Health since its founding in 1947—a spark of innovation that has glowed for 63 years.Print

Open Mike Articles
  • 2012  
  • |  2011  
  • |  2010  
The Path To The Best Care At Lower Cost   12/01/2012
The US spends $2.7 trillion on health care every year. If our collective wallets feel lighter, that’s because $304 billion comes out of our own pockets. How can these kinds of costs be brought under control, without sacrificing quality of care?

Certainty   09/04/2012
Sustaining momentum in uncertain times can be hard, but one way to keep it up is to celebrate progress. I’m really proud to call your attention to a study published in Health Affairs today.

Affordable Care Act ruling brings stronger imperative to transform health care  07/11/2012
As important as the Supreme Court Ruling is for the future of health care, it’s really just one step in a process that started before the Affordable Care Act passed and will continue for a long time to come.

Only connect 05/16/2012
This spring I spent five weeks in clinical immersion all over our system. I had 34 small-group discussions with 172 different clinicians. In March, I shared some early insights at the half-way point. Now I want to wrap up everything I heard.

What if? 04/11/2012
What if the “new normal” doesn’t feel normal at all, for many years? I try to remind myself and others that the current turmoil in health care is driven by market forces—not politics—and can only be solved by directly addressing the market. Our “new normal” is all about reaching across silos to work with partners in new ways.

Business problem? Diagnose it.
I’m about halfway through my 2012 clinical immersion. When I tried this last year it was new for all of us, and it felt right to start our conversations around values. This year I'm trying to dig a little deeper.

What will your legacy be?  02/24/2012
What a night! It felt terrific to see over 700 clinicians and special guests at the GHP Annual Meeting on February 15. “A Legacy of Leadership” was our theme for the evening, touching on our shared past, present, and future.

Performance matters  10/19/2011
Only nine Medicare Advantage plans in the country earned 5 stars overall, and Group Health Cooperative’s Medicare Advantage plan is one of them!

Looking back, and ahead: reflections on my first three years  9/17/2011
The last three years have passed quickly, largely because I’ve had such an amazing group of people to work with. What you’re capable of no longer surprises me. It inspires me.

Our people are our culture, and we’re constantly evolving  8/17/2011
One thing I’ve noticed since my last Q&A on Group Health culture with Scott Armstrong is that conversations like ours are spreading.

More than elbow room  7/6/2011
Growth is a good problem to have in turbulent economic times. But as I’ve heard in medical staff business meetings and conversations, growth is hard on daily life at work.

Erikson and Soman on partnership and growth  6/15/2011
Sustaining growth isn’t about Michael and I being leaders; it’s about teams of seasoned, excellent colleagues and leaders and clinical teams. We both have tremendous confidence in them.

The good, the bad and everything in between  5/11/2011
I went all over the state in March, talking with small groups of GHP physicians and other clinicians about critical issues. 

Why are we here?  3/23/2011
Easily eight out of ten of you mention that our philosophy of medicine—the way we practice—drew you here. And paired with the people and relationships in your workplaces, it’s a major thing that keeps you here.

Culture at Group Health: 7 questions for Scott & Michael  3/9/2011
Scott and I kicked off some fresh thinking about culture and respect for people at our Leadership Conference about five weeks ago. Recently, we sat down to check in with each other about it.

Put some passion in your workplace 2/17/2011
What satisfies you, motivates you, or makes you want to tell your friends and family about your day? Do you know how your co-workers would answer these questions? Talk to each other to learn from each other.

Sometimes growth don't feel like it should  1/28/2011
We know that taking on new patients—and engaging them in their own good health—takes time. But it’s what’s unique and important about our kind of medicine.

What will it take? You.  12/1/2010
About 350 leaders from the Group Practice and throughout Group Health gathered for the Group Practice Annual Fall Forum on November 12.

Demystifying clinical integration
Clinical integration is the key, so let’s define what that phrase means.

Step back and take it all in. You’re making great things happen.  10/21/2010
In the last issue of Open Mike we had just learned that we had won the 2010 Acclaim Award from the American Medical Group Association.

Group Health sees a big jump in NCQA private plan rankings  9/22/2010
Group Health is one of the highest rated health plans and among the top 50 in the nation, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

Notes from the Colorado Health Symposium  8/11/2010
During the last week of July I traveled to the Colorado Health Foundation’s annual symposium in Keystone, CO.

Measuring up  7/28/2010
Quality. Ask a hundred people to define it, and you’ll get a hundred answers.

The risk and opportunity of Accountable Care Organizations
Shared values, physician-led care models, and aligned incentives can bridge the distance between organizations in the world of accountable care.

Let’s start a conversation about our workplace  4/4/2010
People are our most important resource, our “secret sauce.”

Decreasing “unwarranted” variation in clinical care  3/24/2010
As you read this, we are in the midst of unprecedented reform to our national health care system.

Making the transition from “I” to “we”
Last night the Group Health Permanente Annual Meeting left me feeling inspired and confident.

Looking ahead to 2010  1/13/2010
First, for 2010, our goal is as follows: We will lead the top delivery system in the state.

Other GHP Leadership Publications