On Medicine: Town Meeting Sheds Light On Hopkins Medicine Mike Field ------------------ Staff Writer A standing-room-only crowd filled the hospital's Hurd Hall on Jan. 3 to hear interim President Daniel Nathans, hospital President James Block and medical school Dean Michael Johns offer a progress report on the new Office of Johns Hopkins Medicine and related developments. The hourlong town meeting was the first such gathering of senior administrators and faculty since the new office was created in June of last year. "This report is overdue," said Nathans at the beginning of his presentation, which employed an overhead projector to illustrate the changed administrative structure now directing the combined efforts of the hospital and School of Medicine. "It is obvious from the turnout today there is an interest in this." Noting that "finance is at the heart of this reorganization," Nathans spoke for 15 minutes about how the new organization would be structured and would function. "This restructuring has come about because of the need to align financial incentives," he said. "What we see evolving is a common budget that will include both the hospital and the academic units of the School of Medicine." Although the general outlines of the new office--which consists of a committee including both the medical school dean and the president of the hospital and chaired by the president of the university--were established in June, many of the specifics of the function and nature of the new office have been hammered out in a series of regular meetings that have occurred since then. "At the last meeting, the board of Johns Hopkins University accepted a set of principles that will give the office real strength," Nathans said. He noted, for instance, a new position of chief financial officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine to promote integrated financial planning. Following Nathans to the podium, President Block spent several minutes reviewing the changes occurring in the world of health care and the need it has created for Hopkins to partner with other hospitals and with independent physicians groups. Dean Johns then spoke about the efforts under way to establish a presence for Johns Hopkins Medicine in the Washington metropolitan area and an ongoing review of the Hopkins faculty practice organization. At the conclusion of the presentation all three answered questions from the floor that ranged from concern about faculty salaries and long-term benefits to the hospital's continuing ability to care for the poor. "Jim, Mike and I were pleased with this opportunity to keep the faculty and senior staff apprised of the situation as it develops," Nathans said at the conclusion of the meeting. "We plan to hold similar meetings regularly to keep our colleagues informed about the progress of Johns Hopkins Medicine."
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