CMD: Three Letters That Spell Strong, Effective Leader

February 15, 2018


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One common trait that great team leaders share is that they never stop learning or pursuing new skills. Timothy Paden, MD, CMD, had been a strong, passionate physician for many years; but instead of resting on his laurels, he wanted to be even stronger. He wanted to take his skills to the next level. When he discovered the Society’s Core Curriculum and the ABPLM’s Certified Medical Director (CMD) designation, he knew that he’d found what he was seeking. “I wanted to be certified so that I have more credence and effectiveness in the workplace. It gives me more confidence when I speak to administrators, and I’ve gained a new perspective about my role as a team leader.”  He adds, “The CMD gives me a leg up on helping our facility work with hospice, home health agencies, and other organizations.”

Dr. Paden enjoyed interacting with more novice practitioners as he went through the Core Curriculum. While it was nice to meet other mid-career practitioners completing the course, he also appreciated his younger colleagues. “Younger practitioners are probably more open and willing to learn, and they are more willing to explore new ways of doing things as opposed to the way it’s always been done.”

As Dr. Paden observes, novice and veteran practitioners alike appreciated the ability to complete much of the course online. “This was critical. It is difficult, if not impossible, for many practitioners to spend the money and take the time away from work to travel for meetings. The ability to complete most of the course online, then participate in a brief but productive live program combines the best of both worlds.” He stresses, “This is especially important for practitioners such as myself who work in rural areas.” These practitioners, he adds, are often isolated; and the opportunity to bridge the gap and learn from others is essential.

Inspired to help others benefit from the experience and knowledge of their colleagues, Dr. Paden is working on establishing an Arkansas state chapter. “We need a way to connect with each other and learn from others in the state.” He also is talking to facility owners/operators in the state and encouraging them to have their medical directors certified. “Studies show that if you have a CMD, you have more medical efficiency, better staff retention, and reduced readmission rates, among other outcomes,” he observes.

Dr. Paden is so committed to PALTC medicine, he would like to eventually phase out his office practice and do skilled nursing and post-acute care full time. “The pinnacle of my career would be to be a full-time medical director of 2-3 facilities and go on mission trips overseas.” In the meantime, he is an energetic, engaged practitioner who encourages his residents to write their life histories. “I hope to get enough of these to piece together into a book,” he says.

With more practitioners participating in Accountable Care Organizations and bundled payments starting to involve more patients, conditions, and settings, Dr. Paden believes that obtaining the CMD credential is essential to practicing PALTC medicine in this new world of health care.  It is easier than ever to pursue your CMD, he says. “You can no longer say you don’t have the time to do this. And the sooner you get your CMD, the sooner your facilities and you reap the benefits.” Click here to start your journey today.