May 2017

The CLEAR transparency in disclosing and apologizing for unanticipated outcomes: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Clear communication is central to providing effective, patient-centered care. A key goal of the High Reliability journey is developing a culture that mitigates the risks of imperfect communication inherent to any human-intensive enterprise, such as the modern healthcare environment.

Read the May 2017 issue here

April 2017

How institutional culture creates common ground: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

My last few messages highlighted the importance of building a sense of community in our medical center, our successful effort to achieve re-accreditation from The Joint Commission and the dramatic strides made in reducing serious safety events without our walls. At face value, those topics are unrelated, but they have a common thread: They all are made possible by an institutional culture that is increasingly healthy, transparent and aligned with the institution's mission and values.

Read the April 2017 issue here

February - March 2017

The pursuit of safe, high quality care: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

The pursuit of the safest and highest quality care for our patients has been a consistent theme in my monthly messages. It drives our High Reliability work, development of a signature standard of care, clinical redesign activities and other key initiatives.

Read the February - March 2017 issue here

January 2017

New TJC accreditation standards and processes for a new year: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

The Joint Commission (TJC) triennial accreditation survey for Yale New Haven Hospital, which we expected in the fall, will now happen sometime between Jan. 11 - Apr. 11. The most likely date will be the third or fourth week In January.

Read the January 2017 issue here

December 2016

Finding respect, compassion and value in a post-election world: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

A month has passed since the election, but I continue to note a sense of disquiet in conversations with colleagues irrespective of political affiliation. The divisive and dismissive rhetoric coming from supporters of both parties has made us question what this country stands for and how we all fit into its social fabric.

Read the December 2016 issue here

November 2016

Quality, patient safety and a YNHHS signature standard of care: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

As we move into the new fiscal year, I want to discuss two areas of focus in the coming months: the recent affiliation with Lawrence + Memorial Healthcare and our goals for enhancing quality and safety for our patients.

Read the November 2016 issue here

October 2016

Real results vs. the pressure of national rankings: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

The primary focus of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer is to help our medical center provide patient care that is of superlative quality and reliably safe. In light of the recent rankings released by U.S. News & World Report, I wanted to provide an update on the strides made here in the quality and safety realm.

Read the October 2016 issue here

August-September 2016

The advantages of centralized medical leadership: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

As we have grown as a hospital and health system, I frequently hear from medical staff about some of the challenges to communication, community and efficient patient care that have accompanied our growth. As our medical staff has enlarged, we are less acquainted with each other and exist in our own silos. We, as a health system, continue to work to innovate in a changing healthcare environment, and it has never been more necessary for us to mine the prodigious talent of our medical staff to improve the quality of care we provide to our patients and address the shortcomings in our work environment.

Read the August-September 2016 issue here

July 2016

Pride as a teaching institution: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

A very warm welcome to the 346 new residents and fellows who have joined our Yale New Haven Hospital house staff this month! As a former resident here myself, I can attest to the energy and exuberance that comes each July as we celebrate our outgoing program graduates and greet a new group of inquisitive physicians set to embark on the next step of training and professional development at YNHH.

Read the July 2016 issue here

June 2016

Connecting with each other at the summer picnic and beyond: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Practicing medicine at one of the largest hospitals in the country has many benefits, including the gratification of working alongside so many skillful and compassionate colleagues. Perhaps the biggest challenge of having such a large medical staff, however, is the difficulty in getting to know each other well. I increasingly recognize how important it is for each of us to feel connected for our professional satisfaction, our personal fulfillment and the benefit of our patients.

Read the June 2016 issue here

May 2016

Health system rebranding: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Yale New Haven Health is launching a new branding strategy that changes the logos and look for the health system and its members. The masthead of this issue of the Medical Staff Bulletin shows Yale New Haven Hospital’s new logo. Since a system-wide rebranding may seem incongruous with tight hospital budgets and ongoing state cuts, I want to answer some questions about the nature and impetus of the rebranding.

Read the May 2016 issue here

April 2016

Evolution, consolidation and survival: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

In 2012 a hospital with a celebrated history of serving greater New Haven was financially stuck in the red with only two paths forward: close its doors or join with a partner that could provide the necessary resources to continue its mission. In the nearly four years since the Hospital of Saint Raphael joined Yale New Haven Hospital, we have reduced the total cost of care by $213 million to date by reorganizing care delivery and combining administrative functions – without affecting patient access to services, raising prices or employment.

Read the April 2016 issue here

March 2016

First steps toward physician engagement: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Five months ago I shared the concerning results of our 2015 Medical Staff Engagement Survey. I discussed our planned action steps to ensure our medical staff feels engaged and eager to lead the way toward better health, better care and better value for our patients. Today I want to provide an update on our work.

Read the March 2016 issue here

February 2016

Getting transparent about patient safety: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Safety, quality and patient experience are the cornerstones of care by which patients judge us and by which we judge ourselves as medical professionals. Although these measures are much more than numbers on a page, objective metrics help measure our performance.

Read the February 2016 issue here

January 2016

My take on the state budget cuts: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

You have all heard about the additional payment reductions to Connecticut hospitals for state Medicaid patients driven by Governor Dannel Malloy's emergency budget cuts in September, followed by the legislature's special session that restored some funding. As a physician, I don't enjoy dwelling on finances. However, finances are essential to providing the exceptional care that we strive to deliver.

Read the January 2016 issue here

December 2015

New clinical leadership structure: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

For many years, YNHH has had a highly functional nursing governance structure to propose, adopt and communicate hospital-wide nursing practice changes to nurses. There has been no parallel governance model for the medical staff, in part because of the different models through which our medical staff members (community practices, YMG, NEMG and house staff) relate to our hospital.

Read the December 2015 issue here

November 2015

Kicking off Fiscal Year 2016: A message from Thomas Balcezak, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Fiscal Year 2016 officially began on October 1, 2015, and at Yale New Haven Hospital's annual "kick-off" meeting where physician and staff leadership spent the day reviewing plans for the coming year. I would like to share the key goals discussed, and invite your feedback on our key priorities and challenges for the year ahead.

Read the November 2015 issue here

October 2015

Assessing and enhancing physician engagement at YNHH

This spring 1,704 of you completed our 2015 Physician Engagement Survey. Total respondents represented 44.5 percent of our providers including community, YMG and NEMG medical staff physicians, advanced practice providers and YNHH residents/fellows. I extend many thanks to all of you who took the time to provide your input. 

Read the October 2015 issue here

September 2015

Public Performance messaging a challenge

In July, U.S. News & World Report issued their annual evaluation of hospitals. I am proud to say that we were ranked in the honor roll for eight specialties including cancer, diabetes and endocrinology, pulmonology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, ENT and psychiatry.

Read the September 2015 issue here

August 2015

Safety survey results point to HRO programming, opportunities for improvement
Over the past few months, we received and analyzed three key data sets from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Safety Attitude Survey that provide insight into what our medical staff thinks about our safety culture and engagement of our staff and physicians. For the first time, the survey demonstrated improvement in the areas of openness and communication and non-punitive response to errors. 

Read the August 2015 issue here

July 2015

Favorable performance on measures and staff surveys, framing FY 2016 plan

As we move through the third quarter of this fiscal year, I am extremely pleased with our improving performance on key quality metrics. 

Read the July 2015 issue here

June 2015

Moving from volume- to value-based payments

Most healthcare experts agree that the move from volume- to value-based payments is inevitable, but the path and pace of that change is still up for discussion. The topic became a bit clearer last month with the passage of H.R. 2 - the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, also known as the "doc fix" bill.

Read the June 2015 issue here