In implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there's at least one provision that Congress possibly felt it couldn't afford—or simply didn't care enough about—to fully fund. The healthcare reform law, which was upheld by the Supreme Court today, called for the establishment of coaching programs for physicians. Yet without much federal money, this program has flourished anyway at state and grassroots levels.
Several groups have initiated their own coaching programs through a variety of different funding sources. A report issued by the Commonwealth Fund last month suggests that coaching helps physicians improve team-building, handle patients' chronic conditions, and enhance patients' access to care. Coaching also improves communication among staff, increases efficiencies, and saves costs. But the report also says there appears to be wide variation in the quality of such programs, and a need for standardization of training.
Generally, physician coaching programs are becoming more needed, as well as more popular, says Terry McGeeney, MD, MBA, a primary care physician who is president and CEO of TransforMED, a nonprofit firm created by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) to provide coaching services. The TransforMED program is headquartered in Leawood, Kan.