Health Care Innovator to Speak at URMC Annual Board Program

January 07, 2011

CEO Glenn Steele Jr., M.D., Ph.D.

Geisinger Health System CEO Glenn Steele Jr., M.D., Ph.D., will present a talk on Monday, Jan. 24, in the Class of ’62 Auditorium at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “The Geisinger Model: A Systematic Approach to Quality and Value” is free and open to the public and will be presented from 5 to 6 p.m. The talk is part of URMC’s Annual Board program.

Steele is a surgeon and oncologist, a leading expert on health care delivery and health care reform, and heads up the Geisinger Health System, a physician-led health system in rural Pennsylvania. Geisinger consists of four hospitals, including the 548-bed Geisinger Medical Center, several clinics and a health insurance plan. Since Steele was recruited five years ago, he has introduced innovative operating procedures that have gained him wide recognition in the health care community. 

Probably the most radical idea Geisinger has implemented is a guarantee program called “ProvenCare” which sets a flat fee for a given medical procedure and includes a warranty if you are readmitted within 90 days. Steele said, “We shouldn’t get paid if we don’t do the right thing.”

Steele also has introduced a 40-step checklist for physicians and health care workers to follow in order to eliminate error, and computerized and expanded patient records.

Results have been promising. Sixteen percent of patients had shorter hospital stays and bills were about 5 percent lower. Other results have been more significant: there has been a 45 percent decrease in readmission rates and a 60 percent decrease in neurologic complications.

Steele previously served as the dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, as well as the Richard T. Crane Professor in the Department of Surgery. He was also William V. McDermott Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, president and chief executive officer of Deaconess Professional Practice Group, Boston, and chairman of the Department of Surgery at New England Deaconess Hospital, Boston. He is past chairman of the American Board of Surgery. He serves on the editorial board of numerous prominent medical journals and has authored or co-authored more than 460 scientific and professional articles.

Steele will also address URMC faculty, resident and students from 1 to 2 p.m. on Jan. 24, in the Class of ’62 Auditorium. Registration for that talk is required and can be made by contacting Renee Sutton at renee_sutton@urmc.rochester.edu.

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Carole Dowling
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