Workplace Wellness with Bob Meyer

President & CEO
Phoenix Children’s

What innovations and/or products have you launched recently or are preparing?

Our focus is providing high-quality, highly specialized pediatric healthcare to children and families across Arizona. The goal is to simplify access for our patient families, to ensure they receive services no matter which part of town they live in. To that end, many of our specialists and other in-demand physicians rotate around our facilities across the metro. We aim to improve efficiency in our patients’ experience, and ensure children receive the care they need.

A recent example of this is behavioral health. There is a huge demand for pediatric behavioral health in Arizona, yet there’s a shortfall of providers. Recognizing this gap, Phoenix Children’s developed what we deemed a “bridge program” to quickly connect patients in need of mental health services to licensed clinical social workers or psychiatric specialists who circulate though our medical offices around the Valley. Not only does this improve access to services for patients, it also decreases the number of patient admissions in our main hospital downtown.

Another focus is delivering sought-after services to a growing community of young families in the East Valley. Phoenix Children’s and longtime partner Dignity Health are in the process of building a Women’s and Children’s Pavilion designed to bring together the state’s top obstetric and fetal experts, all under one roof. The state-of-the-art facility will be located on the Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center campus, expected to open in 2020.

To provide a sense of what is happening in the industry, please share the challenges you are addressing to enable superior healthcare services for your clients.

A challenge that comes with distributing services and opening new programs is a shortage of physicians. We have either recently opened or are in the process of opening new sites of service for patients receiving care in a wide variety of specialty areas, from sports medicine and ophthalmology to oncology, and even neuro-based rehabilitation. At the rate our community is growing, the demand for comprehensive services will continue to grow, and, right along with it, the need for more specialists here in Arizona.

To address the physician shortage, Phoenix Children’s continues to develop our specialty training programs and our academic partnerships to educate the next generation of pediatric experts and create a pipeline of talent to our organization. We currently offer 21 fellowship programs with six new fellowships on the way. Our aim is to train and retain exceptional pediatric talent here in Phoenix Children’s system.

In what way(s) are you focused on helping business?

Phoenix Children’s works with partners in the health industry to improve the patient experience across all aspects of the care continuum. As an example, Phoenix Children’s Care Network works with our contracted health insurers to build customized care-coordination programs for their insured members, many of whom work for large national employers.

For instance, PCCN partnered with UnitedHealthcare to build an innovative new program that serves a population of patients with complex health needs. UnitedHealthcare recognized that members whose children face complex illnesses have historically experienced significant difficulties navigating a complicated healthcare landscape. The last thing a parent with an ill child should be concerned about is where to turn for help. So, UHC collaborated with PCCN to develop a solution for this population. Now, UHC members have access to PCCN’s robust care coordination services, which pair parents of medically complex children with Care Navigators. Our Care Navigators make sure these families have easy access to the appointments, services, equipment and devices they need — all covered within their healthcare plans. The initial results are very promising: extreme improvement in customer satisfaction and vastly better care coordination for children with chronic or complex conditions. This solution also delivers timely, proactive care, which may, over time, reduce the number of emergency visits and hospital admissions for these adolescent patients. It is a “win” for everyone.

 About Phoenix Children’s

Phoenix Children’s is a statewide, interconnected pediatric health system with urgent care centers and specialty offices across Arizona, a wide network of community physicians and specialists, and partnerships with major health and academic institutions throughout the state, providing inpatient, outpatient, trauma and emergency care, and specialty care across more than 75 pediatric subspecialties.

Phoenix Children’s is a destination for clinical research and education with a mission to train the next generation of pediatric experts. It is also home to the nation’s first-ever pediatric clinically integrated network, accredited by URAC.


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