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'Reform U' Schools Physicians' Staff

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 17, 2011

Healthcare is a complicated business, and it won't get any simpler with the advent of sweeping federal healthcare reforms that include complicated new standards for care, quality and reimbursement.

And, however much electronic medical records may improve care and efficiency, there is a steep learning curve for these complex systems. Most of these adjustments are done on the job, under duress, while dealing with anxious patients, creating no small amount of stress for healthcare workers. Physicians' staff at off-site offices are particularly vulnerable to these stresses because they perceive that they don't enjoy the same support or access to help that is available for staff inside hospital walls.

With that in mind Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL, created "Broward General University."  The free program of eight, once-a-month, midday classes for up to 40 office managers of affiliated physicians at the hospital was started last year and designed to enhance their knowledge of healthcare reforms and provide a variety of strategies for other daily issues.

Maybe they should call it Reform U.

"We wanted to have a program to reach out to our physicians' office staff," says Anthea Greaves, Physician Services and Medical Staff Coordinator at North Broward Hospital District. "The healthcare reforms and the medical records becoming electronic, those are some huge changes happening in the healthcare industry that are going to impact physician practices We wanted to give back to our physicians on staff by allowing their office managers and staff to be trained on various issues, whether it be claims and collections or learning how to motivate staff."

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