Building on 10 years of clinical experience, Boyd has tried to earn the trust of the other clinicians.
“They know they can come to me with questions. I like to think I practice active listening. When there is a problem, I do a case review and try to get all the facts,” she says. “When you earn their trust, the credentials tend to fall away, especially with the doctors I work with on a daily basis.”
Daniel Ladd, PA-C, DFAAPA
Chief clinical officer, iNDIGO Health Partners, Traverse City, Mich.
Workplace: Founded in 1993 as Hospitalists of Northern Michigan, iNDIGO Health Partners is one of the country’s largest private hospitalist companies, employing 150 physicians, PAs, and NPs who practice at seven hospitals across the state. The program also provides nighttime hospitalist services via telehealth and pediatric hospital medicine. It recently added 10 post-acute providers to work in SNFs and assisted living facilities.
Background: While working as a nurse’s aide, meeting and being inspired by some of the earliest PAs in Michigan, Ladd pursued PA training at Mercy College in Detroit. After graduating in 1984, he was hired by a cardiology practice at Detroit Medical Center. When he moved upstate to Traverse City in 1997, he landed a position as lead PA at another cardiology practice, acting as its liaison to PAs in the hospital. He joined iNDIGO in 2006.
“Jim Levy, one of the first PA hospitalists in Michigan, was an integral part of founding iNDIGO and now is our vice president of human resources,” Ladd says. “He asked me to join iNDIGO, and I jumped at the chance. Hospital medicine was a new opportunity for me and one with more opportunities for PAs to advance than cardiology.”
In 2009, when the company reorganized, the firm’s leadership recognized the need to establish a liaison group as a buffer between the providers and the company. Ladd became president of its new board of managers.
“From there, my position evolved to what it is today,” he says.
Levy calls Ladd a role model and leader, with great credibility among site program directors, hospital CMOs, and providers.
Responsibilities: Ladd gave up his clinical practice as a hospitalist in 2014 in response to growing management responsibilities.
“I do and I don’t miss it,” he says. “I miss the camaraderie of clinical practice, the foxhole mentality on the front lines. But I feel where I am now that I am able to help our providers give better care.
“Concretely, what I do is to help our practitioners and our medical directors at the clinical sites, some of whom are PAs and NPs, supporting them with leadership and education. I listen to their issues, translating and bringing to bear the resources of our company.”
Those resources include staffing, working conditions, office space, and the application of mobile medical technology for billing and clinical decision support.
“A lot of my communication is via email. I feel I am able to make a point without being inflammatory, by stating my purpose—the rationale for my position—and asking for what I need,” Ladd says. “This role is very accepted at iNDIGO. The corollary is that physician leaders who report to me are also comfortable in our relationship. It’s not about me being a PA and them being physicians but about us being colleagues in medicine.
“I’m in a position where I understand their world and am able to help them.”
The story: Encouraged by what he calls “visionary” leaders, Ladd has taken a number of steps to ascend to his current position as chief clinical officer.