ApolloMD & Emergency Medicine: Partnership, Innovation and Results

Change in any health care profession can be a challenge. The hurdles are particularly steep when a hospital or medical center chooses a new medical services provider to manage the emergency department.

ApolloMD brings to the transition process a 40-year legacy of specializing in emergency care and a talented team of experts focused on core goals:

  • uninterrupted high-quality emergency care
  • first-day reassurances and upfront communication with clinical teams and affiliated departments
  • a companywide commitment to a seamless, collaborative transition with long-term support and improvements that benefit the professionals who provide emergency care and the patients who receive it

Amy Katnik, ApolloMD’s Chief Operating Officer, relies on a broad and deep career in education, psychology, and health care scheduling, recruitment, and operations to ensure that the transition is executed as smoothly as possible for all involved parties, including the ED team,  physicians, advanced practice clinicians, and all affiliated departments and hospital operators.

“There’s very little operationally in this industry that I haven’t touched throughout my career,” says Katnik, who has overseen numerous operational ED transitions throughout her 14-year career at ApolloMD and 30-plus years in the business.

The transition process includes and involves representatives from every department that touches the ED, including HR, finance, IT, operations, scheduling, benefits, and more. The several-month ED transition is also bolstered by ongoing communication and ApolloMD’s long-term commitment to process and clinical improvement, data monitoring, and collaboration.

Why do organizations switch ED providers?

A hospital or health care system typically begins searching for a professional services firm like ApolloMD to partner with to solve ongoing challenges with staffing, rising costs, practice-related metrics and outcomes, and patient satisfaction, Katnik explains.

ApolloMD delivers a 105-point, interdepartmental checklist customized to each facility, its employees, market and needs for near- and long-term improvement and patient satisfaction scores, she notes. Click here to download a free sample of the ApolloMD transition checklist. 

“We have a strong reputation because we spend the time with our potential partner clients and are highly responsive to their challenges and needs,” she says. “We’re not a cookie-cutter kind of group, and we don’t have a cookie-cutter contract. In the pre-sales process, we work with each team collaboratively to meet their needs — hospital by hospital, medical group by medical group. If we don’t have answers, we acknowledge that we understand the challenge and we promise to follow up.”

And when ApolloMD wins the contracts and assumes responsibility for the ED?

“We develop a very collaborative group approach to each facility, physician and APC, one by one,” she explains.

“We try to keep everyone in the loop all the time so that on start-up day, no one’s surprised at how the transition to ApolloMD goes and that it is handled well, and it feels right.”

Key components and phases of a 90- to 120-day transition from an in-house or previous ED services provider to ApolloMD include:

Phase One: Tangible, Immediate Change

The goal on Day One is to make an immediate, positive impression and keep communication lines open, Katnik explains. Her team arrives with a catered meal and plenty of information to ease all physician and APC concerns, including:

  • Informational packets for all employees, APCs and independent contractors about the company, including pay/compensation, benefits, payroll, scheduling, work expectations, career paths, contract vs. full-time employees, taxes/deductions, and other topics.
  • Question-answer sessions with all partner clinicians to identify challenges, address needs, and provide assurances about how ApolloMD’s culture will impact their work-life balance
  • Immediate feedback on employment, hiring, and staffing needs, and appointment of an on-site practice coordinator
  • Critical information about staff licensure, certification, and qualifications, including ApolloMD’s policy to insert non-compete clauses in physicians’/hospitals’ contracts

“We understand that change is scary, and the best way to alleviate concerns is to meet individually with every clinician on-site on Day One,” she emphasizes. “We try to keep everyone in the loop so that on start-up day, no one’s surprised at how the ED looks, feels and operates. The worst thing that can happen is that a hospital or medical center switches EM groups, and the next day, it feels just like another day.”

“We bring something unique to let them know this is real change,” she adds. “And we know that if we’re not doing a good job, we’re 90 days away from losing this contract. We prove ourselves daily. That is our commitment to our facility partners and our clinical teams.”

Phase Two: Ongoing, Solution-Oriented Transition

After the immediate transition, ApolloMD supports the process with regular weekly, biweekly, or monthly meetings on such topics as staffing, recruiting, metrics, costs, revenue cycles, and other critical operational topics.

Ongoing challenges are addressed, and unmet needs are identified and resolved through planning and collaboration.

An on-site practice coordinator collects data and monitors ED operations and processes for any opportunities during this 2-3-month transitional process.

Phase Three: Long-Term Clinical and Operational Improvement

Once the transition is on sound footing, ApolloMD’s clinical operations team enters the picture to assess operations and facilitate process improvement, ranging from physical remodeling or design changes to device updates, staffing changes, or other operational strategies.

The goal: continuous improvement in patient care, industry metrics, and patient/clinician satisfaction.

This phase is headed by Evan Howell, MBA, MMSc, LSSBB, PA-C, who is ApolloMD’s Chief Clinical Operations Officer and Chief Advanced Practice Clinician. He:

  • facilitates greater ED physician leadership and involvement in ED/hospital initiatives
  • oversees monitoring of each department’s metrics to identify opportunities
  • supports implementation of available solutions

“We compare one hospital’s metrics to other hospitals,” Katnik explains. “If we’re doing much better, we focus on continuous improvement. If we’re doing worse, we’re ready to talk about how to fix it.”

Long-Term Goal: Improved Care & Overall Satisfaction

Experience lies at the heart of ApolloMD’s approach when it assumes operation of a new emergency department.

As a private, independent group with no outside ownership, the ApolloMD team understands and specializes in hospital-based specialties like emergency medicine and is always ready to lend expertise and leadership to support our partner hospitals and health systems.

“We’ve got some really smart, young leaders who are inspirational — and some experienced leaders who understand processes and results,” says Katnik. “What they have in common is that they trust everyone at ApolloMD to do their job, whatever their role is. That’s very gratifying to me personally, and it builds external trust with our industry partners.”