Allen S Weiss, M.D.
President & CEO NCH Healthcare System
Today, I’d like to pay tribute — “give props” for you younger readers — to the 111-strong NCH Physician Group, which has become by far the biggest group practice in Collier County from Bonita to southeast Collier County and Marco Island, and continues to grow in multiple ways.
Last year, 17 physicians joined Chief Administrative Officer Zach Bostock, ably helped by Administrative Director Pat Read, Administrative Assistant Lindsey Shanks and the team. With two months to go in our financial year, another 16 physicians have been added, and we’re in active discussions with six more physicians. (Some are local with full practices, and others are from outside our region.) We have experienced an 11.7 percent increase in the number of new patients with a similar increase in total office visits this past year. Little wonder that physicians are soliciting us to join the team.
The NCH Physician Group includes nine physician assistants and seventeen nurse practitioners. It’s the only group in the region certified by The Joint Commission, the nation’s premier accrediting body, which advances strict requirements for quality and safety.
In the current uncertain healthcare environment, a successful physician group must offer easy access, high efficiency and reasonable cost. To make access easy, we now have InQuicker (nch.inquicker.com/), a website that facilitates easy access to either of our emergency rooms (Downtown and North Naples) and our two urgent care centers (Marco Island and Vanderbilt Beach Road).
If you have active bleeding, a broken bone, chest pain or some other life-threatening reason, then you need immediate ER access, but a patient not requiring immediate treatment can set an appointment time via the Internet and then wait comfortably at home. InQuicker will be broadened soon to include more than just ERs and urgent care facilities with office visit appointments being available online in the near future.
In terms of quality of care, metrics for the 37 primary care physicians (Family Practice, Pediatrics and Internal Medicine) and 48 specialists are measured and shared including mammogram compliance, diabetes monitoring and other disease specific measurements. Physicians have a deep passion to bring quality care to patients every day; that is reinforced by having access to timely, accurate and relevant information.
In terms of leadership, this week Dr. Karen Henrichsen was elected as the new chair with Drs. David Lamon, Damian McGovern and Gary Swain as new members of the NCH Physician Group Board. Dr. Henrichsen is the physician leader of our outpatient computer system conversion to our robust inpatient Cerner system. This fall, a patient’s electronic medical record from the NCH Physician Group and the entire healthcare system will become one seamless electronic document. We thank past Chair Dr. Robert Hanson, Dr. Mary Ann LoMonaco and Dr. David Lindner for all their service and contributions from inception to transition to the current very successful growth.
We also plan to have senior Mayo Clinic surgical residents from Jacksonville broaden their experience by pairing up with NCH Physician Group surgeons for a rotation at NCH, another excellent outgrowth of our Mayo affiliation. We also are pursuing graduate medical education with an internal medicine program to interact with both the inpatient and outpatient professionals at NCH.
As we develop outside the traditional four walls of the hospital, our goals remain to have physicians aligned, focused on prevention, obsessed with quality and thoroughly skilled in communication. The clinical competence of the NCH Physician Group is pivotal in helping us ensure that our patients live longer, happier and healthier lives.
In September 2006, Dr. Allen Weiss was appointed president and CEO of the NCH Healthcare System, a 715-bed, two-hospital integrated health care system. NCH is one of only twenty hospitals in the country affiliated with Mayo Clinic, and has been named three times by “U. S. News and World Report” as best in the region and among the 50 best cardiovascular programs according to Truven. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and completed his training at both the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Hospital for Special Surgery of Cornell University. He also had a solo practice in Rheumatology, Internal Medicine and Geriatrics for 23 years, and is board certified in all three specialties. He is recognized both as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology. His wife, Dr. Marla Weiss, is a writer and educator, and they have two daughters who are physicians.