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Parallel Journeys: Health First Network & Dr. William Whibbs

September 1, 2007

During the past two decades, Health First Network and one of its most instrumental leaders, Dr. William Whibbs, have evolved, grown, and found success almost in sync. Recently, this duo became even more interconnected when Whibbs put on the hat of full-time medical director.

Please read Dr. Whibbs' remarks regarding his parallel journey with Health First Network.

How did you decide to transition to full-time medical director, and what do you look forward to most in this role?

I have worked with Health First Network from the start, in 1985. As the organization assumed more responsibility and greater financial risk, I began working as part-time medical director. Over time, as we continued to grow, it became more than just part time. Health First Network's needs, coupled with my interest and experience in medical management, made the transition a natural progression.

I have been able to use all of my clinical experience in making practical and tactical decisions that balance the needs of patients, health plans, providers, and Health First Network. Practically speaking, all health care is local. Decisions about how it is delivered needs to be local, as well.

What I have enjoyed and look forward to enjoying as time goes on is the unique opportunity to serve all of the participants in the community health care delivery system.

How is your transition/growth reflective of Health First Network's?

My transition to full-time medical director directly is reflective of Health First Network's responsibilities in providing managed care services in our community. The key to managed care is to manage and care. With Health First Network's increased workload, we have a lot more to manage and to care for.

How will you stay connected to the hands-on side of medicine? Why is it important to maintain this tie in regards to your role as medical director?

I plan to continue a limited practice with the group that I have been with for the past 10 years. I feel it's important to stay close to the "trenches" to maintain good perspective. It is important for me to function under the same circumstances that we, as an organization, are trying to manage so that I can experience firsthand how it works. Or if it doesn't work, I can know what we need to change.

Why was the time right for Health First Network to expand its medical management?

The time was right because the stakes have increased, the problems in health care delivery are huge, and, as I said earlier, the best solutions are going to be found in the community we serve. The rest of the reality is that every community, including ours, has to deal with ever-growing state and federal bureaucracies. There are increasing numbers of regulations and expectations - both with government and private plans - that require full-ti

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