Michael O'Connell, MHA, FACMPE, FACHE
Interim Executive Director at University HealthCare Alliance
Volunteer Roles: ACMPE Certification Commission and ACMPE Forum Representative
Why did you decide to get involved with MGMA?
After obtaining my Master of Health Administration degree from Saint Louis University, I began an Administrative Fellowship with Mercy Health Services (now Trinity Health) in Farmington Hills, Michigan; this is one of the largest and oldest Catholic healthcare systems in the nation. I worked closely with the Office of Professional and Physician Services; one of the few corporate office functions that provides physician, quality, nursing, and allied health consultingservices to our various community health care systems located throughout the Midwest. It was through them that I learned about MGMA and the numerous services and programs provided. By the time I started working for Memorial Medical Group in South Bend, IN, managing physician practices, I decided to join MGMA as an individual member, and also began my journey towards board certification and fellowship. I found MGMA members to be open to dialogue and always looking to learn about ways to improve medical practice. The teamwork, collaboration, and support from MGMA members has been invaluable and has led me to continue to volunteer to both "give back to the profession" and to continue my journey in lifelong learning.
What do you find most rewarding about volunteering for MGMA?
Volunteering at MGMA has always been both professionally and personally rewarding, and I have found great satisfaction in working with MGMA at both the State and National Level. I have served as an ACMPE Forum Representative for Ohio MGMA for the last decade, sought my CMPE certification in 1997 and fellowship in 2003, and also volunteered in numerous national MGMA groups. I have also written many articles for MGMA and presented at numerous Conferences. I love to write and present; it's part of sharing the knowledge that I've gained throughout my years working with physicians. It goes without saying that MGMA has become part of my family and one that I can always count on.
How did you decide the practice management was the career for you?
I have always worked with physicians through my professional career and found that working with them in integrated delivery systems has been rewarding, challenging, and leads to so many possibilities towards improving patient care and clinical outcomes. Currently, in a dyad partnership with my Chief Medical Officer, I have found the challenges of leading a medical foundation with 350 providers in 27 specialties in 70 locations with 1,400 employees, and almost 1 million patient visits a year to be a wonderful opportunity to make a difference, lead through change, and create a high-performing medical foundation.
What is the best tip you give to people who are just starting a career in practice management?
Take the time to learn about the profession from the ground up by rounding in medical practices and business operations, asking lots of questions, and leading by example.
What is your favorite book, website, or resource for practice managers?
I am always reading and have found so many great books. One book I just finished and enjoyed was "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeown, which is being used as a primer for my current work at Stanford Health Care in Silicon Valley. In addition, I am always going to the MGMA website for numerous updates, information, and resources to help me in my daily medical practice management activities.
How do you relax after a busy work week?
I enjoy spending time with family, gardening, reading, and power walking.
What is your top tip for maintaining work/life balance?
Take the time to care for yourself by getting enough sleep, eating right, routinely exercising, taking time to think (pray), and being passionate about the work that you do. In doing so, the work/life balance will fall into place.