Straight Talk - "Our Physicians"

November 22, 2012

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

No group is more critical to our reputation or future than our physicians. And last week, under the leadership of NCH Healthcare System Medical Staff President Dr. Jeff Heitmann, we honored several of our system’s finest at the semi-annual medical staff meeting, attended by about 150 colleagues.

  • Dr. Wallace W. McLean, 2012 Physician of the Year, spoke about the tremendous changes he had witnessed over his distinguished 37-year career. He went on to remind those present—including his well-behaved nine grandchildren—that focusing on quality care and making patients the center of our concern will sustain us as we continue to evolve.
  • Dr. Douglas Harrington received the 2012 Carl W. Liebert MD Award, acknowledging exceptional service and commitment to the medical staff and its peer review process and quality of care initiatives. Dr. Harrington has effectively led NCH’s four ICUs to nationally-recognized, objectively-measured leadership positions for quality and safety.
  • Drs. Hinda M. Greene, Vijay K. Konda, and Joseph A. Talarico were recognized as “Guardian Angels” by patients they cared for. The NCH Foundation receives letters of appreciation accompanied by contributions from grateful patients, and we share these accolades with the caregivers as publicly as possible. This is done to continue the virtuous cycle of improvement, benefiting us all.

The Medical Executive Committee also reviewed its initiatives, including the Hospitalist Program to improve patient and physician satisfaction, Computer Provider Order Entry (CPOE) presented by Dr. Paul Jones with a goal of two all-digital hospitals by next July, and Graduate Medical Education beginning an Internal Medicine Residency in Southwest Florida. Also highlighted were an overview of the Stroke Program by Dr. Jeff McCartney and the Health Information Exchange (HIE), directed by Chief Information Officer Helen Thompson to be offered to all of the medical community.

Dr. Kenneth Plunkitt reported that his Performance Improvement Committee completed 11 projects to integrate all hospital-based processes to support a culture of improvement of health outcomes system-wide. Drs. Michael Vickers, Tracey Roth, and Douglas Harrington exemplified NCH physician leadership and engagement by showing their upcoming poster presentations for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement meeting next month.

Finally, the physicians turned to our affiliation with Mayo Clinic. Drs. David Axline, Adam Frank, Carlos Quintero, Herman Spilker, Mario Trance, and Sam Tunkle shared their recent Mayo experiences centering on patients versus physicians, efficient and effective use of supplies, communication and culture. Drs. Quintero and Trance illustrated the best — and worst — patient–physician interactions in two impactful videos (

Dr. Spilker’s summary ( of our recent 11-member Mayo visit captures the heart of our growing relationship. “Embrace an administrative culture that folded in doctors and nurses at every level; and that we actively mine the practices of Mayo to find those that are best for our patients and our community as we actively seek to import them rather than expect to benefit only from passive participation.”

Daily participation and leadership of our 635-strong Medical Staff is anything but “passive.” These individuals have led the way to the enviable healthcare our community enjoys. And for that, we and our community are eternally grateful.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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