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FL Hospitals Say 'Yes' to Unlicensed Doc as CMO

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, September 19, 2013

"The position of CMO is an administrative role and does not directly provide any patient care," says Rew, emphasizing the lack of importance of a practicing physician in the post.

"In fact, in order to gain a better perspective on how to improve the quality of care within a hospital, it is often inadvisable for a CMO to be an active member of the medical staff."

As hospitals weigh filling CMO positions, many believe the post has greater weight and complexity in the healthcare reform era. The role's mission is to improve not only clinical care but organizations' business portfolios. Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., earlier this year named joint chief medical officers, both practicing physicians, to handle what its leaders termed the "complexities of the evolving healthcare landscape."

With such complexities comes the growing importance of hospital-physician alignment. Many organizations are finding value in placing practicing physicians in leadership positions, in part to improve relationships by sharing that first-hand clinical experience.

As for the two Florida hospitals, they have full confidence in Smith as their CMO. In his role, Smith "will work to continually strengthen the relationships between physicians, clinicians, and nonclinicians," spokeswoman Rew says.

The ability to do the job could be enhanced, however, if those relationships included a common bond based on a shared clinical experience.


Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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4 comments on "FL Hospitals Say 'Yes' to Unlicensed Doc as CMO"


Anonymous (10/21/2013 at 6:50 AM)
Comments to previous articles regarding this topic suggest that CMO's do make decisions that indirectly and sometimes directly do involve medical care and hence should require licensure. Examples include authorization(s) of exploratory surgeries to investigate malpractice claims especially in indigency situations, input to policies regarding levels of care, in general but also particularly in indigency cases and more which can be found in other articles. Perhaps state legislature(s) should cure this anomaly by requiring licensure for CMO's.

anonymous (9/27/2013 at 8:26 AM)
I am a Medical Staff Coordinator and I believe if his job function is to "to continually strengthen the relationships between physicians, clinicians and non-clinicians," the he should be a "Physician Liaison or a Director of some sort". How can you lead a Medical Staff if you are not abreast of the continual changes in Healthcare (CME). I'd love to follow these to hospitals and see they evolve with an unlicensed Doc as a CMO.

Gainer Pillsbury, MD (9/19/2013 at 4:49 PM)
I have been a CMO for 15 years and began with a part time practice. I think this increased my credibility with the medical staff in the beginning. I retired from practice 10 years ago when I could see that time commitments might conflict, but have kept my medical license current. I think retainig a licesnse is important in maintaining confidence of the medical staff who are occasionally tempted to state "You aren't really a doctor anymore and are out of touch"