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HL20: Patrick McGuire, CPA—On the Path of Mutual Alignment

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2013

McGuire has provided strong financial leadership for the $2 billion health system and stood as a unifying voice for Ascension Health Michigan Ministries when it negotiated a five-year agreement with Blue Cross of Michigan. Unquestionably McGuire is a seasoned healthcare finance veteran, but for all his experience McGuire believes no one can afford to stop chasing innovation.

In 2010, McGuire found himself in unfamiliar territory as the system planned to move into delivering coordinated care to patient populations, and to do that it would need to forge stronger physician relationships. Nationally, some organizations had begun establishing comanagement agreements to meet those ends, but McGuire felt that that approach only partially exemplified the unified approach of St. John Providence.

"We had long standing relationships with our physicians going back to an early 1990s PHO … but we got to 2010 and looked at our alignment with physicians and we realized our physicians didn't view the partnership as much of a partnership, at least not as much as we did," he says. "From an administrative standpoint we believed we had trust and engagement and that we were looking out for the best interest of our physicians, but it became apparent that some physicians didn't see it that way."

Though disheartened by the realization that the organization and it physicians weren't aligned, McGuire and the leadership team became invigorated by the idea of creating something new—a truly equal partnership between the system and the physicians.

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