A Grateful CMO Says Thank You… And Let’s Keep Going!
Bruce Flareau, MD, EVP, CMO
My tenure as BayCare’s chief medical officer (CMO) is coming to a close, and I want to take some time to recognize and thank the countless team members, practitioners, leaders and system executives who have helped me along the way.
With nearly 32 years in the community and 23 years with the health system, I have been fortunate enough to work with – and then for – every BayCare CEO since its inception. Because of that, I have had the opportunity to see BayCare from a unique perspective and have had the wonderful opportunity to both watch it grow and to help shape its destiny along the way.
For that, I am forever grateful.
While I may have been the health system’s first physician executive vice president and its first CMO, there is nothing singular about the numerous “firsts” we have set together over the last few decades. With your help and support throughout the years, we created the following “firsts”:
First Morton Plant Mease residency program
First Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO)
First BayCare CMO
First Physician Executive Vice President
First Medical Staff Advisory Council
First Service Line Clinical Advisory Council
First system physician leadership program and physician forums
First physician newsletter
First Community Physician EMR (POEMR)
First BayCare clinically integrated network (CIN) and accountable care organization (ACO), which are now among the most successful in the country
All of this for the express purpose of helping our providers deliver excellent care to our patients. There is no doubt that it takes a phenomenal team of amazing people to make all of that happen.
When we formed the first system-level Physician Advisory Council (PACo) and got to work engaging hundreds of practicing physicians across BayCare, we had no common physician identity management system and an organizational structure largely driven by geographic regions.
While there is still much to be done, we have come a long way in just a short time. Today, we are a true system driving meaningful results.
Similarly, the idea of physician leadership and physician inclusivity were somewhat distant concepts just a decade ago in some pockets of our organization. In fact, when I came to BayCare, there were less than a half-dozen recognized physician executives in the system. Today, there are nearly 20 full-time physician executive leaders.
Each of these physicians, as well as our nursing and pharmacy executives, constitute our Clinical Leadership Council. The members of this council are, in many ways, the under-recognized heroes driving our agenda of clinical excellence.
These men and women have dedicated their careers to helping you deliver exceptional care. Sometimes that relates to resource expenditures, sometimes peer review and accountabilities, sometimes celebratory events, and sometimes just listening to understand. It can be a thankless job, and if I had one thing I could do over, it would be to better recognize the work efforts of this talented and hard-working group of clinical executives.
They have carried the torch, and helped commission the resources and co-created the infrastructure and the macrostructure to drive our agenda of clinical excellence. The results are overwhelming. While I have been privileged to lead them, the real work has been done by them, and by you, our practitioners.
The transformation we have seen does not happen by accident. It is due to the leadership team and the active participation of our physicians as leaders of change.
Relentless Pursuit Of Excellence
As many of you know, I spent much of my time as the CMO passionately driving our organization around my personal mantra of “the relentless pursuit of excellence,” such that, with the full support of our team, it has been adopted from the board to the bedside. It is now in the fabric of our organization, and something I am particularly proud of. Most recently the Board Quality Committee even voted to change its name to the Clinical Excellence Committee. What a wonderful time in our history.
When BayCare’s previous CEO, Steve Mason, invited me to join the health system’s executive team over a dozen years ago, we were still largely a federation of states. Steve recognized the deployment of a single hospital-based electronic medical record as a necessary but sizeable undertaking. He was not wrong. I took on the role as CMIO to help lead this effort, and together, we got it done.
I also want to thank my friend and colleague, BayCare CEO and President Tommy Inzina, for prioritizing physician engagement as a critical aspect of our success. From the start, he’s been committed to ensuring that we have an active and engaged physician base to drive our culture of clinical excellence. And now he’s helped us take it a step further with his encouragement and support of BayCare’s new physician resiliency program.
BayCare’s new CMO will start later this month. Dr. Nishant Anand comes to us from Adventist Health System where he served as senior vice president, chief transformation officer and chief medical officer of its population health services organization. I’ve committed to Tommy that I would help with his transition.
As I close out this chapter of my career, I am opening a new door as the president of the BayCare Physician Leadership Institute. In this capacity, I will continue to work tirelessly to aid you, our physicians, in rising to the occasion as effective leaders at all levels of our organization and our industry. I am here to serve your needs and to continue to make a difference!
Thank you so much for your support throughout the years. I look forward to continuing to work with you as part of the BayCare team.