In moves intended to strengthen equity in the delivery of care, URMC will immediately discontinue special patient services and phase out its Executive Health Program by June 30, officials announced today.
CEO Mark B. Taubman, M.D., said the decision was made in consultation with University leaders, faculty members, medical students and other trainees, staff and URMC board members. He described both programs as elements of a legacy health care system that no longer reflects Medical Center values.
“We are deeply committed to the goals of our Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan, which compels us to make changes that foster inclusion and demonstrate equity as a health system,” Taubman said. “Discontinuing programs that focused on a relatively small number of privileged individuals will enable us to improve access to services of exceptional quality for all patients.”
Taubman explained that the process of developing and implementing URMC’s plan has led the institution to examine programs like Executive Health and special patient services through an equity lens. A January COVID vaccine clinic intended for employees, at which 26 eligible people well-connected to the University were vaccinated, accelerated review of whether these programs align with the goals and values of today’s Medical Center.
Established during the 1980s, the Executive Health Program functioned like a primary care office for executives of companies that paid for the service. Patients received in-depth annual physicals and personalized, as-needed consulting about health questions or concerns. Though not a formal program, special patient services employed resources of the Executive Health team to give individualized attention to patients well-connected to the University, helping them to schedule appointments and manage paperwork associated with their care.
Executive Health Program contracts include a 30-day cancellation option that URMC will exercise, honoring upcoming scheduled appointments as affected patients are directed to new providers over the next four months. Taubman said resources will be deployed to strengthen the appointment scheduling, financial assistance and patient relations programs available to all patients as preferential access is eliminated. Five full-time employees who currently support the programs will be reassigned within the organization.
“Achieving equity as a health system involves a process of collective self-reflection, making changes that reduce disparities in access to care and health outcomes,” Taubman said. “Eliminating these legacy programs is a relatively small but important demonstration of our commitment to doing that work.”