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Fall 2011

Physicians' veep

Date: October 3, 2011

Bill Baumgartner
Bill Baumgartner

Baumgartner brings strategic leadership to new Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians.

Cardiac surgeon Bill Baumgartner is one of those Hopkins physicians—and there are many of them—who is preternaturally capable of placidly juggling more complex, demanding assignments and responsibilities than it seems any normal human being should undertake .

The genial, soft-spoken Kentuckian, a 29-year Hopkins veteran and pioneer in heart-lung transplants, already is vice dean for clinical affairs, director of the Surgical Research Laboratory, president of Hopkins’ 1,700-member Clinical Practice Association, and executive director of the Chicago-based American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Yet this spring he accepted the post of senior vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine and head of its new Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians. Internist and pharmacist Steve Kravet, president of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, was named Baumgartner’s deputy in the new office, created by Dean/CEO Ed Miller.

Given Hopkins Medicine’s recent rapid expansion through affiliations and integrations with community hospitals and their physician groups, Miller says the new office is needed to “meet the needs of all the physicians who practice under our JHM umbrella and ensure that we are all working in concert to fulfill our tripartite mission” of patient care, research, and medical education.

The growth of Hopkins Medicine’s family of hospitals has been rapid during the past two years. Surburban Hospital Health Care System in Montgomery County joined the Hopkins family in April 2009; Washington, D.C.’s Sibley Memorial Hospital joined in May 2010; and All Children’s Hospital and health system in St. Petersburg, Fla., joined in July 2010. These newcomers round out a group that also includes Howard County General Hospital, which was purchased in March 1998.

As a former director of the Division of Cardiac Surgery, Baumgartner knows that the essence of Hopkins has always been the autonomy of every department and division, in which the heads are “all sort of entrepreneurs.”

“We all want to develop the newest thing, but sometimes what happens—as it has in the past—is that we might actually have competing programs, through nobody’s fault except no one was coordinating. Now the Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians is in many ways a single funnel for programs that are going to be developed in our community hospitals,” Baumgartner says.

“By having one group of physicians, we have the opportunity to have a strategic plan of what we want to do,” such as emphasize the growth of a particular program at one institution, he notes.

Initially, the office’s coordinating efforts will focus on the Hopkins Medicine hospitals in the Maryland/Washington, D.C., area, but eventually it also will have an impact on All Children’s in Florida, Baumgartner says. “I would like to be sure that whatever we do at Sibley, Suburban or Howard County, we do with the idea that it’s mission-driven—that our missions of education, research, clinical care go as a package. All three may not be applicable in any one spot or with any one division of medicine, or any one group of physicians, but I think we go into it with that idea.”

Neil  Grauer