June 4: Medical Clinics and Primary Care
I had the opportunity today to tour the Banner Good Samaritan Internal Medicine, OB and Family Medicine clinics in the Edwards Building. As I was touring these clinics, I was struck that every year we train more than 100 physicians in these three "primary care" programs.
As health care grapples with the challenges of improving quality and reducing cost, everyone agrees that the solution starts with ensuring access to primary care – with a focus on developing a patient-centered medical home. I learned that our clinics are all focused on providing care that is well-organized, coordinated, integrated, characterized by effective communication and based on continuous healing relationships.
As we continue to shift our focus from a volume-based, fee-for-service model to a model where we are accountable for value-based care and the health of a population, the role of primary care teams will be magnified.
Banner Good Samaritan residency programs in these three programs are examples of our commitment to ensure we are a leader in developing physicians who can lead these patient-centered medical homes.
This is a critical investment to our future, as Arizona only has about 80 primary care physicians for every 100,000 residents, far less than the national average of 110. Moreover, coupled with the fact that millions more Arizonans will be insured in 2014 and our state continues to be in the lowest quartile in the country with ratio of medical residents to population, the problem will likely be magnified.
The complexity of graduate medical education funding that relies on Medicaid and Medicare funding has prevented many hospitals from adding residency programs. I learned that Banner Good Samaritan’s ability to support the training of more than 250 residents relies a great deal on philanthropic support from our foundation, and that this year's Candlelight Capers event will focus on raising funds to support these programs and ensure that Banner Good Samaritan will continue to be a leader in training our physicians in the future.
I look forward to learning how everyone at Banner Good Samaritan can contribute to the possibilities of continued growth of all 17 residency programs.
As I continued my tour of these three clinics, it was also clear to me that we have been able to attract outstanding faculty who are experts in their fields. These are not only clinics for “teaching residents,” these are clinics staffed by expert physicians who attract students and residents from all over the country to learn from them. Many of these physicians have contributed to scholarship through publications, presentations and research.
Banner Good Sam is a place of possibility because of our faculty – our “star” physicians who attract patients and learners alike. If I were a patient who needed care from an outstanding Internal Medicine, Family Practice or OB-GYN physician – no matter where I lived in the Phoenix metropolitan area – I would absolutely travel to 12th and McDowell and get care from a highly coordinated team led by our faculty physician “stars,” whose goal is simply to keep you healthy.
I hope each of you takes a few minutes to tell your friends and neighbors about “our secret,” here at Banner Good Samaritan … where world-class clinicians deliver the most up-to-date care to every patient, every day.
Steve Narang, MD, is the chief executive officer at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.