Baylor Offers Business Leadership Program To Physicians

Nov. 14, 2000

by Alan Hunt

WACO, Texas -- Baylor University has announced a new program for physicians and health care professionals who are facing "dual role" responsibilities as medical providers and executives.

Known as the Physician Leadership Program (PLP), the curriculum will help health care professionals develop needed skills to lead "from the operating room to the boardroom," said Phil Sanchez, director of Baylor's Executive MBA programs. "Increasingly, physicians are being asked to practice medicine and run a business at the same time."

The intensive 15-week course, to be held on the campus of Baylor Medical Center, Dallas, will provide physicians with business, management and leadership skills. The program, which begins in January 2001, has been structured to allow physicians to continue practicing while attending classes on alternating weekends.

Sanchez said the program has been developed through a collaboration between Baylor and the Texas 5.01(a) Alliance, which represents the more than 300 5.01(a) corporations in Texas. These physician-governed corporations, created under the Texas Medical Practice Act, include several thousand physician members. "We have worked with their industry specialists to make sure our program content is based on their need," Sanchez said.

Dr. Alan K. Lassiter, president and CEO of the Cook Children's Physician Network, Fort Worth, and immediate past president of the Texas 5.01(a) Alliance, said as a physician-led organization, 5.01(a) corporations are responsible for assuring that patients receive quality patient care and that the resources used in care delivery are used in the most appropriate way possible. "In addition, the 5.01(a) corporations also monitor the qualifications and practice patterns of their physician members to assure that they meet the current standards of care," he added.

In partnering with Baylor to develop the PLP curriculum, Lassiter said the Alliance is "once again attempting to provide the necessary tools for physicians to be able to deliver the highest quality care in a complex and difficult environment." He said the result of the partnership is a program which is "grounded in solid theory and principle while being immensely practical for physicians in practice today."

Dr. Linda Livingstone, associate professor of management and associate dean for graduate business programs at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, said the aim of the new program is to assist physicians who find themselves taking on broader responsibilities in their health care organization.

"Today's health care environment is complex and constantly changing, requiring physicians to develop skills beyond those needed to manage the time-honored physician-patient relationship," she said. "While continuing to provide high-quality patient care, physicians must also manage their practices, deal with insurance providers, meet the needs of investors, and address government and political issues."

Sanchez said the program will be taught by members of Baylor's executive MBA faculty using a variety of instructional methods, including lectures, case studies, group discussions, recommended readings and question-and-answer sessions. Strategy, leadership and managerial skill development will be emphasized, along with such topics as accounting in the health care arena, financial decision-making, marketing and medical practice, negotiation and conflict resolution, e-business in healthcare, organizational behavior and legal issues.

"The entire program is designed to help physicians navigate the tumultuous health care industry," Sanchez said. "Physician administrators are obligated to be current in medical techniques and practices and are required to participate in business decisions related to managed care. These situations frequently require the physician executive to become involved in unfamiliar territories that can lead to anxious moments in board meetings."

Sanchez said the Texas Medical Association has designated the new program for a maximum of 40 hours credit toward the American Medical Association's Physician's Recognition Award, certifying a physician's completion of continuing medical education. He said the new program conforms to the policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

As an extra-cost option, the program also will be offered as a graduate level course, providing participants with six hours of college credit through Baylor.

For more information about the program, contact Sanchez at (800) 583-3622 or by e-mail at phil_sanchez@baylor.edu .

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