HOLYOKE — Spiros Hatiras, President and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center, announced the appointment of Michael Houff as director of Physician Services for the HMC Specialty Practices as well as Western Massachusetts Physician Associates.
Houff brings more than 20 years of extensive healthcare leadership experience in executive-level physician-group management, project consulting, revenue cycle management, hospital outpatient operations, managed care payer and provider operations, and IT implementations.
He most recently served Meridian Medical Management in Windsor, Conn. as director of operations and previously, Hampden County Physician Associates, LLC in Springfield as chief operating officer, vice president of operations and director of operations.
“Mike brings the leadership necessary to help Holyoke Medical Center and Western Mass Physician Associates provide the highest levels of patient care and satisfaction,” said Hatiras. “His experience in managing physician services will be an asset to ensuring that our providers and office staff continue to deliver high quality and compassionate care to our patients.”
A native of Enfield, Conn., Houff graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor of arts in international affairs and received a master’s degree of General Administration Health Care Management from the University of Maryland in 1996. From 1988 to 1992 he served as active duty combat arms officer in the U.S. Army and then worked for Kaiser Permanente in Rocky Hill, Conn., Tulane University Hospital and Clinic in New Orleans, and at GE Healthcare.
“I really wanted to get back to the patient-care-delivery side of the business of healthcare,” said Houff of choosing to work at HMC. “It’s a much more meaningful mission to know that what you’re doing every day in outpatient operations has a real impact on people’s lives — helping people who are going through very difficult times with their health issues and being able to help them have one good day amongst many bad ones is a really good motivation.”
As primary support to the providers and support staff of HMC Specialty Practices and Western Mass Physician Associates, Houff will work on quality improvement initiatives to analyze, implement and manage process improvement projects, patient satisfaction issues and quality issues in order to ensure each patient receives the highest quality of care at HMC.
“It’s my job, as I call it, to clear the path so that providers and support staff can focus on taking care of patients and their providers,” he said, noting that the practices can be very hectic at times. “It’s already stressful to come to your physician’s office because of an illness, so we want to create a flow in the offices where patients only have to think about their relationship with their doctor or nurse, not about the waiting room, whether people are nice, parking or anything else.”
Part of Houff’s main focus is on insuring open, easy access for primary care providers to deliver on the quality and customer service of a patient-centered medical home. “This is critical to the future success of taking care of our patients in the right way with high quality and good, strong outcomes,” said Houff, who believes that effective, honest, consistent and transparent communication is the key to accomplishing goals. “It is one of the most effective things a leader can do. Communication is usually the start of and the solution to all of life’s problems.”