A New Chapter for Johns Hopkins' Clinical Practice Association
Date: February 25, 2013
John Ogunkeye, the new executive director of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Clinical Practice Association (CPA), says he became interested in medical practice management “purely by happenstance.”
After college, the London-born, Texas-educated son of a Nigerian diplomat thought he wanted to become a doctor. With a biology degree from Texas Tech University, he was admitted to medical school in Nigeria—only to discover quickly that medicine, and the sight of blood, was not for him. When he returned to Texas to pursue a graduate degree in biology, he also became impressed by the job of someone who worked as an administrator. By 1986, Ogunkeye had earned master’s degrees in both biology and health care administration.
His history includes more than two decades in a variety of management positions for academic medical centers. Most recently he was chief operating officer of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, as well as executive director and vice president for Jefferson University Physicians, a 650-member, multispecialty group practice.
Although the CPA is more than twice that size, with some 1,500 physician members, a $600 million operating budget and an estimated 2.5 million annual patient visits, Ogunkeye is undaunted. He more than doubled his area of responsibility in 2001 when he moved to Jefferson from his prior job as executive director and CEO of Morehouse Medical Associates, the practice group for Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
“There are not many individuals in the country who have the skill set needed for this position,” says William Baumgartner, president of the CPA and vice dean for clinical affairs at Johns Hopkins. “John’s experience in both faculty plans and community physician outreach made him an ideal choice.”
At Jefferson, Ogunkeye planned and directed the implementation of an electronic medical record system—experience that should prove vital as Johns Hopkins Medicine begins to launch Epic, its new EMR system, in 2013. He learned, for example, that the automation provided by an EMR doesn’t mean that “paper goes away” entirely—at least in the beginning. In fact, he says, paperwork actually increases, as do the costs of handling it. Ultimately, he says, “EMR saves you money, but initially there are ramp-up costs that you have to manage.”
Ogunkeye also welcomes the challenge of serving as vice president and chief administrative officer of the Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians, which serves as the bridge between physicians employed by the Johns Hopkins Health System and faculty clinicians in the school of medicine. Ogunkeye’s duties include evaluating unmet physician needs and structural options allowing collaborations between community hospitals, physicians and full-time faculty.
“We will spend a lot of time meeting with and listening to the many current and future constituents of the Office,” he says. “The thing that’s new for all of us in a CPA-type role is this issue of how do you integrate disparate physician groups into one whole to respond to the market? The Office is another example of how Johns Hopkins is really leading the charge, across the country, in looking at different models that will make it keep its competitive edge. It’s an exciting time to be here.”