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New Physician Liaison Program Brings Increased Referrals, Streamlined Healthcare

December 01, 2015

Kevin and BJRegardless of age or background, it is not often that patients completely decide on their own where they want to receive care. Often times, patients rely on their primary care physicians and others to guide them towards highly dependable, efficient, and safe health care. In fact, most health systems receive 70% of patient referrals from area physicians. To do this, however, community caregivers must be aware of what services and procedures are currently being offered across Baystate Health.

What are Physician Liaisons? 

BJ Goodwin and Kevin Garvin, enter stage left. As physician liaisons, they are responsible for engaging with hundreds of local medical offices on a day to day basis. Rarely are their work calendars identical from one day to the next.

“Each one usually takes on a different look. Most days involve direct interaction with customers, community or internal practitioners who could potentially refer to providers at Baystate Health,” BJ said.

The duo split up across the entire region, building relationships with referring providers, fixing barriers that can make working with Baystate Health a challenge, garnering a better understanding of health care market demands, and building trust among all providers so that an exceptional physician referral experience remains a top priority both in and outside the Baystate family. The program was launched in 2012 and is supported by John Schreiber, MD and Michelle Baillargeon, director of BMP referral services and her team, Jean Ahn, vice president of strategic planning and business development and Suzanne Hendery, vice president of marketing and public affairs and her team.

“Despite consumer involvement in health care decision making, physicians remain the single most powerful stakeholders in our success as a health system. Maintaining and growing trusted relationships with providers is important to our mission and vision and allows us to work to improve the experience for providers and patients in the region.”

Success: By the numbers

The results of the Physician Referral Program have been impressive.

This year, BJ and Kevin made 1,400 face to face visits (20+ per week) to 600 referring physicians, many times introducing community physicians to BMP specialists.

Several programs partnered for impressive results.

  • In the Baystate Regional Cancer Program, with the support of Dr. Wilson Mertens Dr. Jim Stewart, and our BMP providers, patient visits increased by 8.3% in Medical Oncology.
  • In the Baystate Heart & Vascular Program, Dr. Ari Kugelmass and Betty Larue, Vice-President of Heart & Vascular Services, helped increase visits by 3.71%.
  • In the Northern Region, efforts supported by Dr. Sarah Rourke and her team resulted in patient visits increasing by 40% to Baystate Franklin Medical Center.

BJ and Kevin take pride in being the first physician liaisons at Baystate, particularly because they know that patients benefit by having access to high-level, life-saving specialty care.

“I enjoy the people I get to interact with on a daily basis, both internally and externally. I work with a great partner in BJ Goodwin who is not only a wealth of knowledge but also very entertaining,” Kevin said. “Above all, It is a privilege to represent the incredibly talented providers that Baystate employs and it's rewarding to know that they provide world-class healthcare each and every day.”