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Class Notes

One Busy Man

Chester Schmidt directs a mammoth enterprise.

Believing the adage that if you want something done, give it to a busy person, the school of medicine’s alumni association recently prevailed upon Chester Schmidt ’60 to take over the presidency of his class when his longtime predecessor, George Callard, relinquished it.

Schmidt, who headed psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for 34 years, figures he can handle the class presidency chores in addition to his current duties as medical director of Johns Hopkins HealthCare, the mammoth Johns Hopkins Medicine entity that has an $18 million budget, runs three managed care organizations (MCOs) and just launched a fourth enterprise.

Some 350,000 patients in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware are cared for by Johns Hopkins HealthCare’s three MCOs: Priority Partners, which treats Medicaid recipients; Employee Health Programs, covering Johns Hopkins Medicine employees; and the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan, developed by the Department of Defense to provide health care for family members of active-duty service personnel, retirees, their family members and survivors.

As Johns Hopkins HealthCare’s medical director since 2003, Schmidt oversees the work of some 20,000 health care providers in a broad array of fields, from primary care, specialty care and mental health care to physical therapy, nursing and social work.

The programs face daunting challenges. Reimbursement rates fluctuate annually “up and down, like a sawtooth,” Schmidt says. Moreover, Medicare and Medicaid’s new mantra, “From Volume to Value,” puts providers under tremendous pressure to meet multiple quality measures, subtly shifting financial risk from insurance companies to physicians.

Johns Hopkins HealthCare addresses these challenges by “working intensively with our provider network,” Schmidt says, supplying them with comprehensive information on the services the patients must receive and giving “them a lot of feedback on their performance.”

Not slowing down in any way, Schmidt isn’t all work and no play. He exercises regularly at the gym, plays doubles tennis in the summer, paddle tennis in the winter for a competitive league and maintains his high school weight: 160 pounds.  

One Busy Man