South Florida Hospital News
Saturday October 31, 2020
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August 2007 - Volume 4 - Issue 2
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A Homer for North Ridge Medical Center

While making his rounds at North Ridge Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Kenneth Homer might walk to a patient’s bed, pick up his or her chart and examine it carefully.

As he does this, he is both examining hospital protocol and reviewing the physical condition of the man or woman in the medical bed.

It’s one of a multitude of tasks – large and small – assigned to the chief medical officer – a position Dr. Homer has held at North Ridge since February.

In this job, the 50-year-old physician says he "looks at things in a different way. The chief medical officer is an advisor – checking charts and looking after patients to make sure they are assigned to the proper medical room – ICU or private room – and are receiving appropriate care."

While part of the administrative staff, Dr. Homer said he also represents hospital physicians. "I evaluate new technologies to see which are in the physicians’ best interests, and assess the ones that make most medical sense."

Other responsibilities of the chief medical officer include participation in strategic planning, oversight for hospital operations and representation of physicians at meetings with the CEO and other top administrators.

What he sees from the window of this East Broward County medical center is "a highly competitive hospital marketplace." And he asks himself, "Why choose one facility over the other as your primary patient referral site?"

"Since I took the position of chief medical officer, one of my self-appointed tasks was to try to answer this question – in an effort to improve the standing of North Ridge in the community."

The veteran physician doesn’t pull any punches about what he sees. "I found that the local competition has a few distinct advantages that are difficult to overcome. One local hospital has built up its infrastructure with large amounts of charitable contributions, and has a base of employed physicians spread throughout the country as referral sources."

"Another hospital," he said, "has taxpayer resources to fund its programs and upgrades – a virtually unlimited source of capital. In order to compete, North Ridge will have to better emphasize its already established attributes, and will have to adapt and establish new services to attract physicians and their patients."

What’s a hospital to do? "We are trying to ramp up business in a number of areas," Dr. Homer said. "We have just opened newly upgraded patient rooms that include a soothing spa theme, elements of nature, wireless Internet, flat screen TVs and more open visiting hours." He called the new concept "Concierge Care."

And it isn’t confined to what patients see. "Concierges on the Medical/Surgical and Telemetry floors are dedicated to dealing only with issues regarding hospital services and patient care."

Even the hospital food is better, he said.

"It’s a whole new attitude," Dr. Homer noted. "The success of the concierge concept really depends on the doctors and hospital personnel who deliver health care. On the hospital side, we are always working with nurses and ancillary personnel to formulate a new list of concierge-type responsibilities that will need to be performed to shape the VIP image of the hospital."

A resident of Boca Raton, Dr. Homer graduated from Cornell University and received his medical degree from the University Of Miami School Of Medicine in 1983. His residency was at Northwestern Memorial Hospital at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.

He has been in private practice at North Ridge Internal Medicine Associates, P.A. since 1986. In addition to his position as chief medical officer, he is an affiliate clinical assistant professor at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science at Florida Atlantic University.

He counts as a plus the fact that he has been around this medical marketplace for more than 21 years – and knows many of the physicians he sees every day. And they know him.

Dr. Homer said he feels that’s a main reason North Ridge CEO Dianne Aleman chose him as chief medical officer. "It helps to have a rapport with the staff. They talk to someone they know. So far, I feel very comfortable."

With his familiarity with staff, he said, it’s easier to concentrate on programs and less on personalities.

Dr. Homer said , "Many new programs will be rolling out soon – to offer physicians more of the services needed to give quality care to their patients. We just brought in digital mammography. We are considering a women’s health center, an outpatient, multi-specialty clinic designed to effectively deal solely with women’s issues."

A similar facility is in the works for senior citizens. And revitalized cardiac and cardiothoracic surgical services will pump up the hospital’s service delivery levels in those areas.

"Our new radiology team of Linda Hughes and Rick Baker is always available to assist physicians and their patients in getting tests ordered, performed and reported in a timely and professional manner." Timeliness is a vital part of patient care.

North Ridge goes the extra mile, he said, to make sure charts are updated and monitored often. "We are getting to this level with x-ray reports being ‘in the chart’ the day after a test is performed," he said.

Dr. Homer also praised the hospital’s nursing staff as "superb – people you can trust to treat your patients with skill and compassion."

As chief medical officer, Dr. Homer said he represents both the administration and physicians. As he works with both sides, he finds "we treat each other more like family than co-workers."

"Administration has made a commitment to have an open door policy to any physician," he said. "We have strong physician leadership, always available to assist in any way to promote patient care and accommodate physicians’ needs."

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