“Reinvention” is a word you should not only be hearing, but applying to your medical practice.  You should already be in the process of looking at your practice and the providers and other employees in your group (including yourself)  to see how you are positioned, not only for changes that healthcare reform will bring, but also for the new economy that is underway. 

A recent article in the Commercial Appeal business section titled, “Greater Memphis Chamber Restructures” stated that, “The Greater Memphis Chamber needs to become less dependent on public money and to pursue more opportunities that can transform Memphis much like large railroads, a big airport and FedEx Forum have done in the past. The Chamber will reform its committees around the long-term strategic plans.”

Duncan Williams, president of the investment banking firm Duncan-Williams Inc, will be one of the co-captains of the Chairman’s Circle alongside Calvin Anderson, chief of staff and senior vice president of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “Businesses haven’t been involved enough in forming the agenda for the city,” Williams said. 

John Moore, president of the Greater Memphis Chamber said, “There’s a desire to get more involved, for people in the business and the community are interested in doing something grand, doing something that will have a lasting impact. If people are motivated and have a desire to do great things for the community, we need to be the organization that helps facilitate that.”

As healthcare providers and administrators, we know that if we don’t look at “reinventing” ourselves, we will fail in this new economy.

In a provocative book for business and government leaders, The Coming Jobs War, by Jim Clifton, chairman of Gallup, he describes how this will affect all leadership decisions as countries and cities should focus on creating good jobs because as jobs go, so  goes the fate of the nations. Jobs bring prosperity, peace, and human development but long-term unemployment ruins lives, cities, and countries. Creating good jobs is tough, and many leaders are doing many things wrong. They’re undercutting entrepreneurs instead of cultivating them. They’re running companies with depressed workforces. They’re letting the next generation of job creators rot in bad schools.”

During a recent healthcare engagement I had, we discussed the current financials of the practice, how the commercial payers were paying that particular specialty, where it sits in the healthcare reform bubble, the strengths, opportunities and weaknesses of the practice and how it is positioned for change. 

I asked, “With the new economy and healthcare reform, are you ready to ‘reinvent’?” 

The physician commented, “I find your question terribly condescending.” 

I guess I hit a nerve. Those who know me know that I don’t mince words. If I see or think the emperor has no clothes, you can count on my being honest and telling the emperor that he has no clothes. 

If you have not evaluated where you are right now and where you are going, then I do not want to sound condescending, but it’s time to look at reinventing your practice… not your exit lyrics.     


Bill Appling, MBA, FACMPE, is president of Watkins Uiberall Health Care Consulting. He has faculty appointments at the University of Memphis in the Fogelman College of Economics and Business, where he teaches in the Masters of Health Care Administration program.