December Notes from the Medical Staff President

Laura Pollauf, MD, Medical Staff President

To the Medical Staff:

The New Year arrived with an arctic chill, but living in Northeast Ohio we know it can change quickly, and warmer weather is here for a few days. I hope you all enjoyed a safe, happy holiday season and had downtime to spend with family and friends. I want to thank each of you for the hard work and dedication you provided to our organization to make this a very successful year.

As we wrapped up 2017, we have many accomplishments to reflect on over this past year. To name a few:

  • We established our new Quality Cabinet, with Dr. Mike Bigham as chair, to improve how we work together across divisions/departments completing great quality work and standardizing how this work is reported within our organization.
  • We transitioned to a new, more transparent provider evaluation system for our OPPE/FPPE process with the introduction of the Midas Statit portal. This allows our medical staff to be more engaged in the quality metrics that are tracked within a provider’s division/department and to have access to data to monitor their own monthly performance.
  • The quality team worked with our medical staff department/division leaders to expand and standardize the peer review process within each subspecialty area.
  • With a focus on Population Health, we named our leaders, Dr. Steven Spalding and Kris Grayem, to lead the way for our organization in preparation for the changes coming in how we are paid for the care we deliver.
  • We successfully completed our 2017 Joint Commission survey with great input and participation from our medical staff. Thank you to all who participated.

I want to acknowledge the extraordinary work and commitment to excellence of our PICU team, under the leadership of Dr. Jim Besunder, in developing our ECMO program. Our PICU ECMO program was developed over many years of hard work and further enhances our ability to offer life-saving technology to the children of our community. This past month, a dedicated team of PICU providers – including Dr. Patty Raimer, Dr. Ryan Nofziger, Dr. Chris Page-Goertz, Colleen Cooper and Beth Forst  – successfully cared for their first ECMO patient. Congratulations to our PICU team on this patient care success and instrumental program development!

I would like to acknowledge the retirement of several of our long-standing providers and medical staff leaders from the Division of Psychiatry and Psychology including: Georgette Constantinou, PhD, administrative director of the Behavioral Health Cluster and child psychologist; Laura Rocker, MD, child psychiatrist; Pat Seifert, PhD, director of PIRC and clinical psychologist; and John Bober, MD, child psychiatrist. In addition we want to acknowledge Dr. Richard Hines for his 22 years of service as the division chief in Family Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics. Thank you to all for your years of service and commitment to our patients and the Akron Children’s organization.

I would like to recognize Dr. Sarah Friebert, director of the Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center, who was named 1 of the 30 most influential leaders in her field by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM). She was named a “Visionary” in her field for the AAHPM’s upcoming 30th anniversary in 2018. Dr. Friebert was chosen from a group of 150 nominees, and she will receive her award at the group’s annual meeting in Boston in March. Congratulations Sarah for this recognition that is well deserved.

Note this important documentation update for our providers: There is a new regulation that requires a resident or APP admission order to be co-signed by an attending physician PRIOR to the patient’s DISCHARGE to allow for billing according to CMS standards. This is a very important issue in the realm of compliance, accreditation, billing and documentation for our medical staff. Key stakeholders met this week to discuss how this new regulation will be implemented through EPIC and how medical staff leadership will lead the process change, communication strategy and compliance monitoring. You will receive further information regarding this new regulation in the near future, both through Epic Provider Communique sheets as well as email notification.

Please remember the importance of reading the Epic Provider Communique tip sheets. These are very informative and provide valuable information regarding important Epic updates and ways to improve your documentation.  Also, many of us have both a work and private email address and often feel bogged down with extraneous emails that are not relevant. Please remember to review your work email regularly. Important information regarding medical staff is relayed through your work email, so it is important to check this account frequently. You will receive updates about upcoming license renewal deadlines, important information from HR, and reminders about annual mandatory education – all of which will only be sent through your hospital email account. Please make sure to review it on a regular basis.

All of us like to be acknowledged for the great work we do every day, and we have a terrific hard-working group of providers dedicated to providing the best care to our patients on a daily basis. Our Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) are an important element of our care team. I want to put on everyone’s radar the opportunity to nominate an APP in your area who provides exemplary care, teaching and leadership for the Advanced Practice Provider Award for Excellence in Practice. Created in 2016, this annual award recognizes the exemplary work of an APP at Akron Children’s. Find nomination forms on the APP Center myKidsnet site with a submission deadline of May 1.

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of our medical staff members for your hard work over this past 2017 calendar year and wish all of you a Happy New Year!


Laura Pollauf, MD, FAAP
President, Medical Staff



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