March 1, 2017

New Section Officers

Michael L Becker MD FACEP FAAEM

Section Chair | Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Originally from the Chicago suburbs I trained at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Perhaps because I come from a family of small business owners; I knew I wanted to work in a group in which I could control my own destiny and be something greater than just an employee. To me that meant the opportunity to vote on staffing patterns, clinical protocols, department leaders as well as the opportunity for leadership. I wanted my group to have transparency— including clinical metrics like patients per hour, CMS metrics, patient experience and charges per hour.

That led me to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I joined ERMED. If you told me in high school that I’d end up working in Milwaukee and vacationing in Wyoming (I love to ski Jackson Hole) I wouldn’t have believed it. The job that brought me to Milwaukee has helped me grow as a person and physician in my decade of practice. I have also enjoyed the beer, bratwurst, cycling and cross country skiing that Milwaukee has to offer.

Our group, ERMED, is a democratic group since 1984 staffing three hospitals within the Aurora Healthcare System. We see approximately 110, 000 patients per year total and pride ourselves in patient experience and partnering with Aurora Healthcare on clinical pathways including sepsis, heart failure and frequent users of the ED and in formal medical staff positions such as medical staff president, quality officer, smart chart safety officer, and peer review chairs.

I have served our group as associate medical director, medical director, and hospital quality officer for our largest site. While no longer the medical director at Aurora St. Luke’s I am remaining active as a member of our group’s hiring committee and the system EHR (electronic health record) safety officer. I am excited to serve the ACEP Democratic Group Practice Section as the Chair for the next two years. I have outlined some goals for the section below. Please email your section officers and let us know what ideas you have. Get involved and get the word out.

Rob Thomas MD

Chair-Elect | Minneapolis, MN

I trained in emergency medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis MN from 1999-2002. I thoroughly enjoyed what the Twin Cities had to offer while in residency, so I decided to stay. I had the fortune to join Emergency Physicians Professional Association (EPPA), an independent democratic group in Minneapolis/St. Paul, which has existed continuously since 1969. Currently, EPPA partners with 7 hospitals in 4 health systems in MN to provide care for their emergency patients. We also own and operate 3 free standing acute care clinics that treat 75,000 patients per year. (Our acute care clinics are functionally Emergency Departments, however, state law prohibits the use of the term free standing Emergency Department unless you are owned and operated by an accredited hospital.) Collectively, our group treats over 400,000 emergency patients per year. We accomplish this with 160 physicians and 40 Advanced Practice Clinicians.

Since joining EPPA in 2002, I have held the offices of recruiting director, scribe director, medical director, and I currently have been serving as president for the last 3 years. I am passionate about my independent emergency physician group. I believe that the independent physician and their independent groups are the means by which we will preserve the future well being of emergency medicine physicians in our country.

I am excited to begin my role as chair-elect of the Democratic Physician Group Section of ACEP. I hope that I can assist in increasing the number of section members, the engagement of the members, and the usefulness of the section, over the course of the next 4 years.


Secretary/Newsletter Editor | Freeport, Maine

Although my family roots go deep in Maine, the fact that I grew up in the foothills of Connecticut means that I can never be a true Mainer. While at Brown University pursuing a Political Science degree, I fell in love with Emergency Medicine when I decided to become a Wilderness EMT. Somewhat late to the pre-med game, I finished up those prerequisites at the University of Colorado while also working Search and Rescue. After half a year in Central America learning Spanish, volunteering and traveling, I attended medical school at the University of Connecticut.

Upon completion of my Emergency Medicine Residency in Tucson, Arizona, my wife and I moved to Freeport, Maine in 2000. I started work as an employed physician with Central Maine Medical Center. CMMC was just embarking on a hub and spoke arrangement between the system’s trauma center and 3 small rural hospitals. In 2005, I joined a high performing community hospital nearby, Mid Coast Hospital, eventually becoming the Medical Director. In 2009, we amicably split from the multispecialty group we were a part of and formed the only private EM group in Maine – BlueWater Emergency Partners.

When I’m not working, I try to enjoy all that Maine has to offer with my wife and two teenage sons – fly fishing, road/mountain/fat biking, boating, hiking, skiing etc.

BlueWater currently staffs and manages 3 Emergency Departments and a Walk In Center, and provides locums staffing at several hospitals. Our 25 physicians and 14 APPs together see about 75,000 patients annually. We pride ourselves in our collaborative outlook on patient care, often working very closely with hospitals and specialists to find ways to deliver greater value to patients, the medical staff and employers alike. We’ve adopted Thom Mayer’s approach of taking great care of patients and of those that take care of them (the physicians, APPs, RNs et al.).

There are a number of titles I’ve accumulated over the years – BlueWater CEO, President of the Medical staff, Department Chair etc. I’ve also been serving on the ACEP Reimbursement Committee and will be assuming the role of President of the Maine Chapter of ACEP in March.

As newsletter editor, I am eager to find those who would like to contribute short articles on areas that would interest other democratic groups. A few ideas that we have discussed at the Section include:

  • Malpractice insurance options
  • Health Insurance options (cash out, HAS)
  • Governance issues (Governance matrix, bylaws, executive committee, board of directors etc.)
  • Equity issues
  • Practice Management and support
  • Coding and Billing options
  • How can independent groups collaborate safely and productively?
  • Disability options
  • Benefit benchmarking
  • How to build and foster relationships with the C Suites
  • How do you build your brand and create positive tribalism vs negative tribalism
  • Culture and Compacts
  • Scribes
  • How do you value your shares, how do you finance exiting partners selling?
  • How do you assess an offer of acquisition or merger?
  • Combined retreats?
  • Stipends for leadership
  • How do you provide the right compensation structure for 30 year olds, 45 year olds and 60 year olds?
  • Sabbatical programs, parental leaves
  • Dashboard creation, matrices etc.

If you are interested in helping flesh out any of these ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email.

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