- December 13, 2022
- ByMichael Dolister
As ApolloMD continues expansion of our hospital medicine service line, we also announce the appointment of two hospital medicine leaders collaborating on the management and support of our teams.
Dr. John Sullivan, Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Ashley Varner, National Medical Director of Hospital Medicine, assume these new roles, combining their experience and expertise into a dynamic partnership for serving ApolloMD hospitalists.
ApolloMD Chief Operating Officer Amy Katnik speaks to this focus as our company with solid roots in emergency medicine extends further into the hospital medicine service line.
“It makes perfect sense. The synchronicity between EM and HM is very real … So, it makes sense for us to do it; it’s a natural offshoot of handling patients correctly.”
Bringing on Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Varner to nurture that growth allows for further cultivation of the ApolloMD commitment to excellence in patient care.
John Sullivan, MD, SFHM
John Sullivan, MD, SFHM, moves into his 24th year of hospital medicine with over a dozen of those as a medical director. He joined ApolloMD in 2021 and quickly moved into a leadership position. He reflects on the way his passion for HM inspires his motivation and appreciation for the ApolloMD approach.
“I started my professional career as a hospitalist in the 1990s, in the early days of hospital medicine, before the Society of Hospital Medicine [was founded]. My internal medicine residency geared toward inpatient care, so I felt prepared for what the job description of hospital medicine was at that time,” he recalls. “In my years as a hospitalist and as a medical director, I have felt it extremely important to nurture our relationship with emergency medicine. It’s one of the most important relationships that we have in the hospital. Most of our patients start in the emergency room and there is a transition between emergency care and hospital medicine … if those two groups align, that gray area can present an improvement in care rather than additional challenges. If we both own the patient through that transition, it’s better quality of care.”
Dr. Sullivan notes that his professional mindset complements the principles of ApolloMD.
“For much of my career, I’ve been employed by a hospital or health system until I transitioned to ApolloMD in 2021. Obviously, with staffing models and different groups that come in for management, there is always some consideration along the way,” says Dr. Sullivan.
“I was pleasantly surprised, and not only myself, but we also kept most of our group, and that is because of the physician leadership in ApolloMD. There’s no question that the clinical nature of those making decisions in ApolloMD resonates with docs on ground … these are doctors actually practicing. With ApolloMD, we had senior leadership working shifts in our department and that was something that the group saw as a complete win. It’s been a pleasant transition; as I have gotten to know the senior leadership more, I’ve naturally moved into this role and am honored to be CMO.”
His enthusiasm for the specialty informs his perspective on leadership and encourages a growth mindset.
“As I prepared for the Chief Medical Officer role, I have reviewed several other programs which also have been seeing excellent results. We’re positioned for growth in hospital medicine,” he observes. “I feel like ApolloMD has done it in the right way … being prudent about decisions concerning growth and building more leadership within hospital medicine, we are certainly poised for significant growth in this specialty.”
Ashley Varner, MD
Ashley Varner, MD, shares a similar enthusiasm for both the practice of hospital medicine and the vision of ApolloMD. A hospitalist with ApolloMD since 2018, Dr. Varner has broadened her leadership responsibilities over the last year finding continual sources of inspiration with ApolloMD teams.
“I’d worked for a private practice as their hospitalist and have definitely appreciated the better management of ApolloMD, as well as that [the company] started in EM,” she stresses. “I’ve personally been impressed with the management on-site and the dealings with administration. It can be very difficult to balance those things, but the quality of involvement of ApolloMD is better.”
The structure and attention given by ApolloMD provides a network of support to all clinicians, and in the realm of hospital medicine, Dr. Varner sees the direct impact.
“[With ApolloMD] You get a regional president, you get a vice president of operations, you get onsite help and strong recruiting. When we call our regional presidents and need them to show up, they show up and that is valued,” she asserts.
That type of hands-on care is what drew Dr. Varner to hospital medicine.
“My residency had a very heavy inpatient-based program, and I knew that I wanted to be in the hospital,” she says. “Thirty years ago, I didn’t know about hospitalists, and I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I would be doing, but I knew that I would be in the hospital. Hospital medicine has changed so much over the last 20 years, and even in the last decade. The emergency department depends on us [HM] to move patients and to help them function. That’s a direct correlation, so it makes sense to work very cohesively with emergency medicine. Building that relationship makes the whole hospital run more cohesively. We work together to achieve each other’s goals. Our physicians are independent contractors who meet the goals of the hospital and put patient care at the forefront. We are taking care of the patients and doing that with great clinicians; supporting our clinicians helps the hospital and helps the patient.”
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Varner to the ApolloMD leadership team.