The AMA has several guidelines for the position of hospital medical director, including those in managed care positions, Snow says. While some guidelines simply address "the role of the hospital director and not what his qualifications should be," others say that a physician who is involved in making clinical decisions or involved in peer review procedures "shall hold an unlimited current license to practice medicine," he says.
"Clearly, if that is carried over to a hospital, the (CMO) should be a member of the medical staff and meet all of the qualifications of those he is interacting with," Snow adds.
Although the AMA believes licensed physicians should be in CMO positions, the organization acknowledges that there's a demand for physician leaders with increased business acumen.
More physicians are pursuing degrees beyond MD, including masters of public health, also juris doctor, and MBAs, "just to practice medicine," Snow says. Among the reasons: a more complicated healthcare terrain, especially with larger group practices "that are put together like hospitals, single specialty and multispecialty groups. They want somebody to lead that group, and for a physician to do that, it is best to have som business training," he adds.