Dr. Deckey – A Focus on Practicing for Patients
When Dr. George Deckey realized he was spending more time managing a medical practice, leaving him less time to see patients, he knew his 27-year career needed a new direction. The ever-changing healthcare industry was forcing him more and more into the role of a businessman. Time spent tackling the bureaucracy and complexities of healthcare and insurance was robbing him of his passion to focus on being a top surgeon for his patients. Like many other doctors across the country, he knew the challenges facing physicians choosing to stay in private practice.
“I wanted to be in a position where I could focus solely on patient care rather than worrying about all the other aspects of healthcare that are burning physicians out. There are very few solo, private practitioners because you have to wear all the hats. You have to be the human resources manager, the IT manager – do everything. It’s just become a struggle to run a solo, private practice.” – Surgeon, Dr. George Deckey
An enduring calling to serve his patients inspired Dr. Deckey’s partnership with Yuma Regional Medical Center. Now armed with the business management support needed, Dr. Deckey spends his days doing what he loves most and does best – listening, observing, and performing life-changing surgeries. His decision to join the surgery team at YRMC allows him to dedicate more of his time and talents to giving patients the care they deserve. After nearly three decades of living in the Yuma community along with his wife – pediatrician and Yuma-native Dr. Gowan Deckey – he’s back to his sole focus being on serving our community as an excellent surgeon.
Partnerships – More Important than Ever for our Community
Dr. Deckey represents a growing trend among physicians locally and nationally:
- According to the American Medical Association, nearly half of physicians across the nation are now employed by a physician group or hospital.
- Over the past four years, 58 local medical providers or clinics have chosen to partner with YRMC.
These partnerships have laid the foundation to recruit another 150 much-needed healthcare providers to join our community. This includes specialties that can be difficult to recruit like otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), orthopedics and vascular surgery.
Local partnering physicians have said that without the ability to join YRMC, they may have been forced to leave the community or simply stop practicing medicine. A large number of Yuma physicians are at or beyond traditional retirement age and could stop practicing at any time. Given Yuma’s longstanding shortage of primary care providers and specialists, losing physicians would result in a negative impact on patient care, including longer appointment wait times, fewer clinic hours, and potentially less availability throughout outpatient clinics.
Offering our local physicians the option to focus solely on medicine is not only important in maintaining higher levels of quality care, but it’s an integral component in preventing a local physician shortage.
Working Stronger Together
More than 98 percent of the medical practices that have joined YRMC over the past several years proactively reached out to inquire about partnership and employment options. This is contrary to a common misconception that YRMC strongly pursues local medical practices. Community doctors who have joined YRMC recognize that being a part of a larger organization provides access to latest in technology and tremendous resources, including top-notch clinical expertise, a diverse range of specialists and additional clinical support.
This was the case for obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. J. Brock Amon who has stated that YRMC’s dedication to innovation and continual enhancement of quality drew him and his colleagues with Women’s Health Specialists to pursue a hospital partnership.
“Joining a larger institution allows you to do more things,” said Dr. Amon. “It gives you a few more tools in the toolbox, especially in terms of patient safety.”
As a YRMC employed physician, Dr. Amon works jointly with his hospital colleagues to directly improve the patient experience and promote coordinated care. Coordinated care translates to better deliveries and more spectacular surgical outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Amon is able to offer his patients more services, a robust perinatology clinic, a greater level of appointment availability and shorter appointment wait times. As a physician, Dr. Amon has access to tools and resources to help him provide the highest level of care to his patients. This includes support from YRMC to recruit new medical staff and clinic employees, streamlined business practices and access to the latest in technology, including the DiVinci robot, which reinforces precision in minimally invasive women’s surgeries.
Improving Quality, Convenient Care – We are Not Done Yet
The benefits of partnering with YRMC do not stop with the gift of increased patient interaction time, it means more time for medical providers to focus on their own health, which translates to higher quality of care for all.
Certified nurse midwife (C.N.M.) Annette Casey notes that her recent partnership with the hospital allows her more time to focus on her own physical health, which she says impacts her patients and the level of care she continuously provides.
“I’m at a point where I need to be more mindful of my own health. My primary [care physician] reminds me that I’m not 22 anymore,” Casey says with a smile. “The old primary care that knew everyone and went to everyone’s houses, that only exists on TV these days. I think it’s also not the way that medicine can continue. We need midwife care in the office, someone who says ‘you can call me’ or ‘if you need a little more time, I can give that to you.’ I think this new model is going to be it. This is the way that’s going to save medicine.”
YRMC is working to transform the work environment for physicians by creating a place where doctors enjoy their work and can readily partner to improve care for your family. And Annette Casey, C.N.M. is correct in her belief and excitement that the best is still yet to come. YRMC’s dedication to providing and always improving quality, convenient care for its community has only just started. We are not done yet.