Englewood Hospital and Medical Center announced Friday the appointment of Dr. Michael T. Harris as senior vice president and chief medical officer.
Harris joined EHMC in 2012 as chief of surgery. He came to EHMC from The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York where he held a variety or roles including vice chairman of the school's Department of Surgery. He was an attending surgeon at Mount Sinai since 1993.
Harris said chief medical officer at EHMC will differ from how the job is defined at many other healthcare organizations. This is because the nursing, physician and quality leadership will all report to him, making him "really a chief clinical officer where nursing, physician leadership and quality all report up through a single clinical office. The idea is to break down silos."
He said the new model intermingles the staff rather than looking at them as separate department entities. This new model is in sync with how health care reform is transforming medical care.
"There has never been a time in my 25 years in medical practice when there has been a more natural alignment between physicians, nurses and hospitals."
Traditionally, he said, there has been tension, especially between doctors and hospitals.
"The 'suits versus the white coats' type of issue. But given the regulatory environment and given the way that people expect their care now, this alignment is natural, and a big part of my job is to help everybody move in the same direction and improve care and do it in an efficient and cost effective way," he said.
Harris said that about two years ago Englewood created a multi-specialty physician practice that now has 130 physicians, some employed directly by the hospital and some not.
This large practice, he said, is the way of the future.
It is more difficult as time goes on for small physician group to invest in the infrastructure needed to meet government requirements, he said.
Now underway at EHMC is a $90 million construction project to construct a new Cancer and Wellness center, to be completed in 2016, and modernize and expand the Family Birth Place maternity facility, to be completed this fall.
"For a small community hospital we have really done an amazing job at being at the forefront of high technology medical care," Harris said. In the past, some area residents thought "you had to cross the river (to New York) to get this kind of care, but you don't. We have really tremendous specialists, particularly in cardiac and cancer care, which is becoming more and more what our community requires for their care. We have assembled and continue to assemble experts from all over, as well as technology."
He said the new cancer center will "provide multi-disciplinary care, with navigators to help patients and their families to ensure they are getting the best care. We are investing heavily in this over the next couple of years and it all comes back to providing the highest quality care to our community."
And his new office of chief medical officer is where "all of the various types of care are coordinated to benefit patients and their families."
Warren Geller, chief executive of EHMC, said of Harris: "His extensive clinical and administrative experience will be instrumental during an extremely transformative time, as we expand multiple services."
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