By Mary Holloway Richard, JD, MPH
On March 10th, the industry magazine, Modern Healthcare, posted news hot off the presses that a physician, Dr. Benjamin Chu of Kaiser, has been selected to be the CEO of Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
As I read this, I couldn’t help but remember my first job out of graduate school—the lowest level administrator at Hermann Hospital in Houston at the Texas Medical Center. I was responsible for ambulatory care at a time when layoffs in the emergency department and the outpatient clinics were required. It was quite literally a baptism by fire.
I had come to that position from graduate school where I studied about the needs of the health care system—continuity, quality, cost effectiveness. This likely sounds familiar to you if you are involved in health care in any capacity. During my final semesters in graduate school, I interned at the Old University Hospital in what developed into the session in which the legislature refused to, once again, bail the hospital out in meeting its payroll. That unfortunately also sounds familiar.
In the classes I teach at OCU law school, I remind my students, who are largely enthralled with the idea of a health care law practice, of the importance of understanding the language and limitations of the pervasive regulations, but also their history. It is important to have the context within which to place the regulations, statutes and case law that impact our providers.
Similarly, I advise clients to look forward, to be proactive in their compliance efforts. It will be interesting to observe physician leadership in the Memorial system.