Progress Notes Executive Editor Carl Manelius officially retires Nov. 10. We asked LG Health’s outgoing Director of Physician Affairs 10 questions about his time at LG Health, the best parts of his job and his plans for the future.
Director of Physician Affairs Carl Manelius, right, shown here with Dr. Monty Duke, will retire Nov. 10.
Tell us about your professional background and your career with LG Health.
Before I joined LG Health, I was Vice President of Community Services for the United Way of Lancaster County. That role began my connection to health care. My LG Health career started in the Marketing Department in 1994. That was when the Health Campus (now Suburban Pavilion) was about to open and Lancaster General Medical Group was forming. Over time, I began to work more closely with physician practice leadership as Director of Physician Relations. I’ve been in my current role as Director of Physician Affairs since 2008.
How has the practice of medicine changed over your career?
In the early ‘90s, almost every health record was on paper. The electronic health record was a game-changer. I think we have embraced it with great success. Medicine has become less hospital-centric and increasingly focused on the delivery of ambulatory services and improving access. Decades ago, family physicians rounded in the hospital. Now we have hospitalists coordinating in-patient care. Medical consumerism, in a variety of ways, has helped to reshape the patient-physician relationship, especially with regard to the wealth of medical information on the Internet. Quality demands and measurement have replaced the traditional volume-driven, fee-for-service reimbursement model. And the number of employed physicians continues to increase. Much of this change has come at the expense of physician collegiality and added administrative “chores” for physicians.
What have you enjoyed the most about your job?
Getting to know many members of our Medical & Dental staff. They invited me into their professional lives, and for that I am very grateful. I hope that I have added value to their relationship with LG Health. Having an office in the hospital has been a wonderful experience. It is a unique workplace where employees with diverse backgrounds, expertise and training are dedicated to operational success. I’ve enjoyed being part of the hospital team. It is a very special place.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced?
Change management. The last decade has produced many organizational and systemic changes that require extraordinary leadership, effective communication and problem-solving initiatives. In many ways I needed to rethink and adapt my role in order to remain a relevant resource and productive “player” for the Med Staff.
In this regard, the creativity and guidance of Dr. Monty Duke were essential to any success I’ve achieved.
What career accomplishments have been most satisfying?
Our physician leadership programs, including the Physician Leadership Academy and the LG Health/Wharton School Health Care Management Executive Program, come to mind.
I’ve remained committed to high standards of timely and effective communication that help to build trust with our physician practice partners. The physician fax alert system has been a helpful communication tool. Organizing the Practice Executive Council and CEO Roundtable meetings that connect our CEO and operational leaders with the leadership from our largest independent practices has been rewarding.
How has Progress Notes changed in your time as editor?
When I started with Progress Notes, it was strictly hard copy. The Med Staff President wrote an editorial, and we had regular feature writers. I recall fondly Dr. Bill Bakken’s editorials noting his experience with Sister Mary Rottweiler. Dr. Steve Olin always came through with an excellent column on patient safety and performance improvement. He was ahead of his time. The publication has changed. We are now exclusively an online circulation. Physician interviews featuring special interests, hobbies, talents and community service have become the most popular stories.
Editor’s note: In the future, I hope to see readers share their opinions and ideas about current topics that are shaping medicine and the health-care delivery system. This would make a great editorial/letters to the editor page. Thank you, readers, for making PN part of our physician culture.
What advice would you have for newer physicians?
Ten years ago, physician stress and burnout weren’t on the radar screen. This is a much more prevalent issue now. Don’t let it sneak up on you. Remember why you became a physician. Don’t lose sight of those things that bring joy and purpose to your chosen vocation.
What do you think are some of the greatest challenges LG Health will face in the future?
Ensuring that our health system has an adequate supply of top-shelf physicians, APPs and nurses (the great differentiator). Developing a capacity for innovation. And maximizing reimbursement in a pay-for- performance world.
How would you like to be remembered by colleagues?
That I was a good teammate who got things done.
What are your plans for retirement?
I want to get into better physical shape -- improve strength, flexibility and balance. I’ll practice the piano. My skills have diminished considerably since my band days playing in the ‘70s. I may do some writing on health-care issues. My wife Pam and I plan do more traveling, including spontaneous, spur-of- the-moment stuff. I’ll play more rounds of golf. Maybe I can lower my handicap a little bit. I’ll have more time to enjoy my grandkids, daughters and son-in-law. Maybe run for President.