Opening Session Examines Podiatry’s Role in Population Health, Leadership | News | APMA
Opening Session Examines Podiatry’s Role in Population Health, Leadership

July 28, 2022

Mike DeGere, DPM, MBA

“The Quadruple Aim has been described as improving population health, improving the patient experience of care, decreasing the cost of care, and improving the care team experience and well-being (1). I would assert that these are not aspirational goals, but interconnected imperatives for the future of health care.” 

If you ever question podiatry’s place in the ever-changing health-care landscape, have a conversation with this year’s Annual Scientific Meeting keynote speaker Mike DeGere, DPM. Better yet, come listen to his lecture, “Podiatrists’ Key Role in Medical Staff Leadership and Improving Population Health,” during Thursday's Opening Session. He will leave you inspired and excited for the future of podiatry.

A 1999 graduate of the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Dr. DeGere practiced podiatry in Wisconsin and Ohio for 15 years. After serving as Chief of Surgery and Chief of Staff at St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac, WI, he entered full-time executive leadership in 2014. In 2021 he became Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Froedert Health – Holy Family Memorial in Manitowoc, WI.

“Early on in my practice career, I became progressively more involved in committee work in the organized medical staff of my hospital,” says Dr. DeGere. “This work increased my awareness of the value of bridging care delivery and health-care administration.” After nearly three years in a dual clinical/administrative role, a new population health executive position was created and Dr. DeGere leapt at the opportunity. “It proved to be precisely the right role to make the transition [to full-time administrative work] without abandoning any of the training, experience, and passion that I had for clinical practice.”

For Dr. DeGere, podiatry and population health are a natural fit. Falls prevention and diabetic foot exams are obvious examples of the intersection of these two fields, but Dr. DeGere sees many more opportunities to make an impact, such as contributing to hypertension management.

“The strategy could be timely and properly administered blood pressure checks on appropriate patients who present for a medical appointment of any type, the podiatric office visit included,” he said. “Considering the frequency with which some at-risk patients are seen in the podiatric office, there is much opportunity for not just active participation, but podiatrists’ demonstrated leadership in population health improvement.”

Just as importantly, being involved in population health may be necessary as the health-care management landscape continues to evolve.

“Population health improvement is driving care models and reimbursement paradigms. I believe podiatrists’ active involvement in achieving improved population health can blend very naturally and helpfully with organizational goals and payment models that reward improved outcomes for the patients we serve.”

Though becoming more commonplace, a podiatrist taking on an executive leadership role in a health system is still perceived as noteworthy within the profession.

“My experience has been that for any clinical leader, the most important factors have not been the medical degree or the specialty,” Dr. DeGere said. “They have been reliability, effort, outcomes, communication, trustworthiness, and consistently demonstrated respect for others.”

The Opening Session will also include remarks from APMA President Laura Pickard, DPM, and special recognition of Barney Greenberg, DPM, for his legacy with the APMAPAC. After the Opening Session, head over to the Exhibit Hall Grand Opening/Reception.

1. Bodenheimer T, Sinsky C. From triple to quadruple aim: care of the patient requires care of the provider. Ann Fam Med. 2014;12(6):573–576. doi: 10.1370/afm.171

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