Ajay Kharbanda, MBA, CMPE, is regional director of Arlington-based Texas Health Resources, a nonprofit healthcare system that serves 16 counties in North and Central Texas with 4,100 beds at 24 acute-care and short-stay hospitals. Kharbanda, chair of SHM’s Administrators Task Force, chatted with The Hospitalist about his work, his involvement in SHM leadership, and how administrators can work with HM to improve the healthcare delivery.
Question: How would you characterize your role?
Answer: I work closely with the medical director of the hospitalist group to support physician practice operations for employed hospitalist physicians.
Q: What do you like most about your job as an administrator?
A: I serve professionals who make a difference in people’s lives, and I work with a specialty that is making a difference in how healthcare is being delivered in the country. Additionally, I work for a health system that has the mission to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve.
Q: What motivated you to join—and lead—SHM’s Administrators Task Force?
A: I have been a member of both MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) and SHM for many years, and I have seen SHM mature in the sense of meeting needs of nonclinicians who are looking for an avenue to network and seek answers to our common issues. I remember going to annual meetings, looking for familiar faces, and seeking out peers among the stream of physicians attending the event. Several of us saw the need for an avenue, especially at the annual meetings, for administrators to huddle and brainstorm.
As nonphysician administrators, we send a powerful message about our commitment to the specialty of hospital medicine by becoming a member of the society, and we do need to remember that this is a community unique to our needs as hospital medicine practice administrators.
Q: How is the task force moving HM forward?
A: The Administrators Task Force (ATF) is helping to develop initiatives and programs that promote and define the role of nonphysician practice administrators in hospital medicine. The ATF is charged with facilitating and enhancing the integration of administrators into the society. We strive to strengthen the society’s ability to fulfill its mission by developing and using the talents of current and future administrative leaders.
Q: How is the ATF helping hospitals improve patient care?
A: I believe it is by strengthening the role of the society. ATF has reached out to administrators nationwide to build awareness of the value of SHM resources, and we advised on the practice management [curriculum] for HM10. Plus, we have created the Web-based Practice Administrators’ Roundtable Series. These quarterly events provide an opportunity to discuss issues of common concern and share best practices around various topics. Following a brief formal presentation, participants are encouraged to take part in the discussion.
We all know that SHM offers a remarkable avenue for clinical knowledge, and we are helping to build an avenue for nonclinicians.
Q: Are there ways for other hospitalists and administrators to get involved with SHM?
A: First, visit the Practice Management Institute Web page at www.hospitalmedicine.org. It has information about the Practice Administrators’ Roundtable Series and resources on staffing and scheduling, career satisfaction, and coding and documentation.
Second, come to HM11, SHM’s annual meeting. We will be hosting a special-interest forum specifically designed for administrators. TH
Brendon Shank is vice president of communications for SHM.