Contrary to some opinions, our goal wasn’t to grow for the sake of growth—many with that model and approach have come and gone. We grew because we thought we could do a better job and wanted to support the practice of emergency medicine, much like our early mission in eastern Tennessee. If our group could improve the delivery of emergency care to a community and enhance the careers of aspiring emergency physicians, we were all in.
In subsequent years, that mission expanded to include groups looking for safety through strength in numbers, expertise in ED operations, risk management, and many other areas. Early on, we recognized our limitations and the need to add strong, non-physician leaders with business skills to our team. We utilized their strengths to help us manage the non-clinical side of the equation, making certain the mission was always driven by physician leadership, but well-informed by the brightest minds in health care management.
Today, many groups find value in joining a larger organization, removing the headwinds so commonly encountered in today’s health care environment. Our goals have never included conquest, but instead, true collaboration and servant leadership. Our model is a good fit for many, but may not be the preference of others. Just as in 1979, we welcome those who find TeamHealth to be a good fit, while respecting the choices of those who do not. Larger groups, whether by design or unintentional evolution, are an important part of emergency medicine’s history and share responsibility with those working in other models for the future success of our specialty.
TeamHealth’s story includes expansion beyond emergency medicine. Interest in improved efficiency and quality provided by integrated care delivery models has inspired further expansion of TeamHealth’s mission to include multiple service lines, including anesthesiology, behavioral health, hospital medicine, post-acute care, urgent care, occupational medicine, and orthopedic and general surgery surgicalists, among others, making TeamHealth one of the largest multispecialty clinician groups in the nation, with nearly 20,000 physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses working to actualize our mission.
Our roots and foundation were built in emergency medicine and it remains the cornerstone of what we do today. “No shoes, no shirt, … no problem,” has been the historical mantra quoted by many ACEP leaders. We are proud of those roots and ACEP’s mission. Emergency medicine has blazed many trails in the past 50 years, and we are committed to our specialty and hope to expand the sphere of influence offered by emergency medicine to many other sectors in the health care industry.