DMG Children’s Rehabilitative Services Recognized as Arizona Complete Health-Complete Care Plan Center of Excellence

DMG Children’s Rehabilitative Services (DMG CRS) has been designated as an Arizona Complete Health-Complete Care Plan Center of Excellence (COE). DMG CRS will serve as a COE for children from birth to age five and for transition age youth.

Valleywise Health Launches Minimally Invasive Pain Management Services at Peoria Location

Non-pharmacologic pain management options now available at Valleywise Comprehensive Health Center – Peoria

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PHOENIX, AZ (April 4, 2023)Every day, at least two people die from opioid overdoses in Arizona, and the state currently has the 12th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country. While pharmaceuticals and opioids play an important role in healthcare and pain management, Valleywise Health is proud to announce a new program that provides access to nonpharmacologic interventional pain management treatments that are effective, safe, minimally invasive and evidence-based.

The science of treating pain has evolved beyond an over reliance on medication and surgery, and at Valleywise Comprehensive Health Center – Peoria, patients who are experiencing pain can get the right treatment with the highest standards of safety and patient care.

“Our goal is to offer evidence-based, innovative treatments that provide relief for our patients without putting them at risk,” said Sarang S. Koushik, MD pain management specialist at Valleywise Health and a District Medical Group physician. “We are proud to be at the forefront of the pain management movement, offering treatments that are proven to be successful and safe.”

Given all pain is highly dependent on the individual and therefore difficult to diagnose, treatment plans can vary widely. Pain can be a result of injury, illness, aging, stress, grief or depression, and there are often multiple factors working together to create the pain patients experience. With this new service, Valleywise Health pain management specialists are able to work with the patient and their primary care physician to determine the best course of action to manage pain and ultimately heal the core issue.

There are a wide variety of pain management treatments now available through specialists at Valleywise Comprehensive Health Center – Peoria including but not limited to:

  • Radiofrequency lesioning
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Peripheral nerve blocks
  • Trigger point injections
  • Selective nerve root injections
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Relaxation training

“While we see patients from all walks of life, we understand that these pain management services are not as widely available to the underserved, or underinsured communities that we serve,” says Michelle Barker, CEO of FQHC Clinics at Valleywise Health. “It was important to us to open up these services to our patient population to allow them the opportunity to manage pain in a minimally invasive way to bring them back to optimal health.”

For more information please visit:

About Valleywise Health

Located in Phoenix, Arizona and named one of the 100 Top Hospitals in the nation by IBM Watson Health in 2020, Valleywise Health (formerly Maricopa Integrated Health System) has a proud tradition of being the community safety net health care system with a mission and commitment to serving the underserved. Valleywise Health consists of Valleywise Health Medical Center, Arizona’s only public teaching hospital, the only trauma center in Maricopa County verified by the American College of Surgeons to treat adults and children. and Arizona’s only nationally verified Burn Center serving the entire Southwestern United States. Other services include the McDowell Healthcare Center, the largest provider of HIV primary care in Arizona, the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic, three behavioral health centers, and 12 community health centers. To learn more, please visit

About District Medical Group

District Medical Group (DMG) is a nonprofit entity made up of nearly 1000 providers across all major medical and surgical specialties. The largest independent integrated medical group in the Phoenix metropolitan area, DMG staffs three psychiatric hospitals, a 450-bed acute care hospital, two emergency care centers, 13 community health centers, a nationally recognized burn center, and the largest Multi-Specialty Interdisciplinary Clinic (MSIC) for children in Arizona. In addition, DMG collaborates with community organizations and schools to provide primary care and other programs. With more than 220 residents in nine programs and 60 in affiliated programs, DMG is the largest teaching faculty in Phoenix. DMG is one of the founding partners of the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, designed to develop new healthcare programs and increase the number of medical providers across specialties in Arizona. For more information, visit

Ross F. Goldberg, MD admitted into ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators

Ross F. Goldberg, MD, FACS

Ross F. Goldberg, MD, FACS

October 12, 2022, Phoenix: Ross F. Goldberg, MD, FACS, a District Medical Group (DMG) general surgeon in Phoenix, AZ, is among a group of 65 esteemed surgeon educators inducted into membership in the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Academy of Master Surgeon Educators® on September 30, 2022, during a program event in Chicago. This is the fifth cohort of members inducted into this distinguished Academy.

Dr. Goldberg was inducted as an Associate Member of this highly coveted Academy. He is the DMG vice chair of surgery at Valleywise Health and an associate professor of surgery at Creighton University School of Medicine (CUSOM) and the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

Dr. Goldberg is a dedicated surgeon educator whose experience in the field includes resident and medical student education, serving as a core faculty member for the CUSOM Phoenix General Surgery Residency and as site director for all medical student surgery rotators within the department of surgery.

DMG is dedicated to being a leader in educating future healthcare providers in Arizona and is a founding member of the Creighton Arizona Health Education Alliance,” said Kote Chundu, MD, MMM, president CEO of DMG. “Dr. Goldberg personifies what it means to be a physician leader committed to advancing healthcare through being an educator and mentor in addition to caring for patients. We are proud to have him on the DMG team and congratulate him on this accomplishment.”

The ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators works to advance the science and practice of education across all surgical specialties. Individuals are selected as Members, Associate Members, or Affiliate Members following a stringent peer review process. This year’s class includes Members (27 Inductees), Associate Members (36 Inductees), and Affiliate Members (2 Inductees). The first inaugural class was inducted in 2018 and the Academy has since grown to include 301 Members, Associate Members, and Affiliate Members who represent six surgical specialties other than general surgery. Inductees are from 22 states and the District of Columbia. They come from seven countries in addition to those from the United States.

Once inducted, Academy members actively engage in advancing the Academy’s programs and goals, which are to advance the science and practice of innovative lifelong surgical education, training, and scholarship in the changing milieu of health care; foster the exchange of creative ideas and collaboration; support the development and recognition of faculty; underscore the importance of lifelong surgical education and training; positively impact quality and patient safety through lifelong surgical education and training; disseminate advances in education and training to all surgeons; and offer mentorship to surgeon educators throughout their professional careers.

“This Academy of preeminent surgeon educators has been making landmark contributions to surgical education and is introducing many transformational changes in surgical education that will endure into the future,” said Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC, FSACME, MAMSE, Director of the ACS Division of Education and co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Academy. “We look forward to leveraging the expertise of the members as we explore innovations that will continue to advance the field of surgical education and positively impact the careers of surgical educators.”

Academy members collaborate on and publish significant works of scholarship and participate in fireside chats, Grand Rounds Series, and the Academy Symposium, an annual conference that brings together Academy members to exchange best practices and discuss critical topics in surgical education. Through dynamic programming, Members have addressed the impact of the COVID pandemic on surgical training, physician wellness, and disparities in surgical education, among several other initiatives. The Academy continues to focus on outreach to surgeon educators from across the globe, with a special emphasis on engaging surgeon educators from low-middle income countries. With this year’s induction ceremony, the Academy will include more than 50 international members,representing 24 countries outside of the U.S.

“In addition to the recognition bestowed on highly deserving individuals, the Academy is a vital, living body. It is a think tank, an impactful organization that explores and cultivates new innovations and interventions in an effort to establish best practices in surgical education,” said L.D. Britt, MD, MPH, DSc(Hon), FACS, FCCM, FRCSEng(Hon), FRCSEd(Hon), FWACS(Hon), FRCSI(Hon), FCS(SA)(Hon), FRCS(Glasg)(Hon), MAMSE, past president of the ACS, and co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Academy.

To learn more about the Academy of Master Surgeon Educators, please visit the Academy’s homepage.

About District Medical Group

District Medical Group (DMG) is a nonprofit entity made up of more than 650 providers across all major medical and surgical specialties. The largest independent integrated medical group in the Phoenix metropolitan area, DMG staffs three psychiatric hospitals, a 450-bed acute care hospital, two emergency care centers, 13 community health centers, a nationally-recognized burn center, and the largest Multi- Specialty Interdisciplinary Clinic (MSIC) for children in Arizona. In addition, DMG collaborates with community organizations and schools to provide primary care and other programs. With more than 220 residents in nine programs and 60 in affiliated programs, DMG is the largest teaching faculty in Phoenix. DMG is one of the founding partners of the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, designed to develop new healthcare programs and increase the number of medical providers across specialties in Arizona. For more information, visit

About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an influential advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 84,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Toni J. Eberhardt
DMG Public Relations
(602) 418-7767

Discover DMG Children’s Rehabilitative Services

More than 25 medical specialties in one location. DMG Children’s was specifically designed to make it easy for pediatric patients- regardless of mobility or condition- to receive care.

District Medical Group (DMG) to Close Primary Care Clinics

map dmg logo

To Our Patients of District Medical Group:

District Medical Group (DMG) will be permanently closing the following office locations on Friday, August 5, 2022. District Medical Group will no longer provide healthcare services at these locations.

  • DMG Anthem Family Practice, 3624 W. Anthem Way, Ste. C-122 Anthem, AZ 85086, PH: 623-434-5748, FX: 623-551-8822
  • DMG Arrowhead Family Practice, 15182 N. 75th Ave., Ste. 180 Peoria, AZ 85381, PH: 623-487-3334, FX: 623-487-3656
  • DMG East Mesa Internal Medicine, 6315 E. Main St., Ste. 4 Mesa, AZ 85205, PH: 480-830-4164, FX: 480-830-5009
  • DMG Lake Pleasant Family Practice, 10144 W. Lake Pleasant Pkwy., Ste. 1110 Peoria, AZ 85382, PH: 623-434-5748, FX: 623-566-9665
  • DMG Papago Family Practice, 1805 N. Scottsdale Rd., Ste. 109 Tempe, AZ 85281, PH: 602-470-5550, FX: 602-381-7500

DMG providers are committed to providing medical care for you prior to this closing date. The last day patients will be seen is August 2, 2022, however clinics will remain open through August 5, 2022, to assist with transfer of care coordination. Likewise, with this announcement, we strongly encourage you to begin the process of transferring your care to another provider or care setting. We suggest that you contact your insurance plan or use their provider directory to assist with seeking a new provider.

For current prescribed medications from our office, we will be able to provide a prescription refill for up to the next 30 to 90 days, as deemed appropriate by the provider.

Your medical records are confidential and will automatically remain with DMG, as the custodian of records. A copy of your medical records can be transferred to another doctor, released to you or another person you designate, only through your expressed written permission and authorization. Please find a copy of our Medical Records Release Authorization Form. You can contact your DMG clinic to obtain your records. After August 31, 2022, you can contact the Medical Records Department at DMG Children’s Rehabilitative Services, where they will be happy to further assist, phone number: 602-470-5530.

We truly appreciate the opportunity to have served you and wish you all the best for your future health.

DMG Clinic Administration

Patient Resources:

PDF version of this letter
Medical Record Authorization Form

District Medical Group Opens Primary Care Clinic to Serve Scottsdale and Tempe Residents and Visitors

DMG Papago

DMG Papago Family Practice offers walk-in and same day care to patients of all ages

PHOENIX () — District Medical Group (DMG), a Phoenix-based non-profit medical group comprised of more than 650 providers across more than 25 medical specialties, has opened a primary care clinic at 1805 N. Scottsdale Road on the Scottsdale-Tempe border, conveniently located north of the 202 highway off the Rural Road exit.  Called DMG Papago Family Practice, the location serves patients of all ages offering preventive medical care as well as acute care for common illnesses and minor injuries.  

”We are thrilled to expand our footprint to serve residents and visitors of Scottsdale and Tempe by providing primary care services by appointment as well as walk-in care,” said Kote Chundu, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of DMG. “Our goal is to continue to grow and offer quality, accessible medical care to patients of all ages close to home. This clinic provides us the opportunity to bring medical services to a community that needs additional primary care providers.” 

The location was formerly a primary care clinic run by UnitedHealthcare (UHC), which closed in October 2019.  Recognizing the need for primary care providers to serve this diverse area, which includes established residential neighborhoods, newly constructed and existing apartment complexes, employers, hotels, Skysong Innovations, and Arizona State University, DMG stepped in to fill the gap and support the community.

The DMG Papago Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 7:30am-5:30pm.  Appointments can be scheduled by calling (602) 470-5550; walk-in care is also available.  Medical services offered include but are not limited to:

  • Care for minor injuries
  • Immunizations 
  • School and sports physicals
  • Treatment of common illnesses, such as cold, flu and allergy symptoms
  • Wellness exams, including well-child medical exams

For more information, visit or call (602) 470-5550.

About District Medical Group

District Medical Group (DMG) is a nonprofit entity made up of more than 650 providers across all major medical and surgical specialties. The largest independent integrated medical group in the Phoenix metropolitan area, DMG staffs three psychiatric hospitals,  a 450-bed acute care hospital, two emergency care centers, 13 community health centers, four primary care clinics, a nationally-recognized burn center, and the largest Multi-Specialty Interdisciplinary Clinic (MSIC) for children in Arizona. In addition, DMG collaborates with community organizations and schools to provide primary care and other programs.  With more than 220 residents in nine programs and 60 in affiliated programs, DMG is the largest teaching faculty in Phoenix.  DMG is one of the founding partners of the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, designed to develop new healthcare programs and increase the number of medical providers across specialties in Arizona.  For more information, visit

Media Contact
District Medical Group
Toni J. Eberhardt
C: (602) 418-7767 

DMG Papago Family Practice Gets Ready to Open with Ribbon Cutting

On Tuesday, June 8, District Medical Group (DMG) leaders, Board members, providers and staff gathered at the newest DMG primary care clinic, DMG Papago Family Practice.

Opening on June 14, this location will serve patients of all ages offering appointments, including same day, as well as walk-in care.

DMG president and CEO, Kote Chundu, MD shared his excitement for the opening of this clinic, which will provide much needed primary care to the currently underserved community on the Scottsdale/Tempe border.

DMG Board of Directors chairman and vice-chair, Dan Hobohm, MD, and Phyllis Biedess respectively, echoed Dr. Chundu’s appreciation for the efforts of DMG team members across multiple departments to prepare this location to open. Board member Alan Rawls also attended to support DMG’s newest location.

DMG Papago Family Practice was formerly a United Healthcare (UHC) primary care location which had closed, and the two organizations worked together for more than a year to transition the clinic to DMG.

United Healthcare Community Plan of Arizona CEO, Jean Kalbacher, was on-hand at the ribbon cutting and shared her gratitude for the successful collaboration between the two organizations to ensure residents in the Papago area were not without a community primary care provider for too long.

DMG Provider Spotlight – Michelle Martin, APRN, FNP-C

District Medical Group (DMG) is pleased to welcome Michelle Martin, FNP-C. Michelle has been in nursing for over six years.

DMG Welcomes Denise Atwood
New Chief Risk Officer

We are excited to welcome Denise Atwood to the Risk Management team as DMG’s new CRO.

Denise brings many years of experience and expertise to DMG. She is a registered nurse, a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM), and a licensed healthcare law attorney with a focus in healthcare law and hospital administration. Read more

Health Care Hero Award Finalists Announced

Three DMG providers are finalists for the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2018 Health Care Hero Awards. They received a tremendous amount of submissions, so we are very proud!

The Phoenix Business Journal along with Abrazo Health Care, present these awards which recognize the outstanding contributions made in our community.

A panel of judges reviews the nominations and selects the finalists from each category. 
All finalists will be recognized and the winners will be announced at an awards breakfast on Thursday, August 23, at the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch from 7am – 10am.

The finalists and winner for each category will also be featured in the Health Care Heroes special section to be included in the edition of the Business Journal.

Read more

Phoenix Magazine Recognizes Top Arizona Doctors

Seven DMG providers were recognized through
2018 Phoenix Magazine’s Top Doctors list

Top Doctors is an annual survey of health care professionals conducted by PHOENIX magazine. This peer-selected list of the Valley’s best physicians s used by the public to make important decisions about their medical care. Congratulations! 

Read more

DMG Designated as HIMSS Organizational Affiliate

DMG is now offering the benefits of HIMSS membership to all of its staff through the HIMSS Organizational Affiliate program. 

HIMSS, or the Health Information Management Systems Society, is the worldwide professional organization for Healthcare Information Technology professionals. HIMSS North America provides thought leadership, community building, professional development, public policy and events to over 68,000 individuals, 630 corporations and 450 non-profit organizations throughout the US and Canada.  Read more

New Academic Affiliation For Health Education

August 24, 2017

The board of District Medical Group unanimously voted to create a new partnership between DMG, Dignity Health & St. Joseph’s Hospital, Maricopa Integrated Health System and Creighton University.

The Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance will foster current health education programs offered by MIHS, DMG, Dignity Health and Creighton University in Phoenix. The alliance also will develop new education programs in medicine (Undergraduate and Graduate) and related health fields.

MIHS and St. Joseph’s have more than 400 residents who will be part of the new program starting July 1, 2018.

As you know, DMG is a leader in physician training at MIHS for more than 25 years, training more than 400 physicians annually. Our strong teaching mission and committed faculty will accelerate our ability to fulfill our core mission of teaching and providing key leadership at Creighton School of Medicine in Phoenix.

This new alliance will foster expansion of health professions education that none of the partners could independently support:

  • Provide new subspecialty training programs (such as fellowships).
  • Offer strong integrated programs that span multiple care environments.
  • Increase health professionals who will train and practice in Arizona, serving Maricopa County and the rest of the state.
  • Offer diverse inter-professional education across the continuum.

DMG has a long and proud history of leadership in training physicians and with this affiliation, we have the opportunity to train the physician of the future and address the workforce needs of Arizona.


Being a physician is a journey, not a destination

Kote Chundu, MD – Professor of Child Health at the College and CEO of District Medical Group

Friday, July 14, 2017

Eighty first-year medical students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix will receive the mantle of the medical profession on Friday, July 21, when they don their white coats for the first time. The White Coat Ceremony marks the students’ entry into clinical medicine and is a rite of passage in their journey toward a health care career.

The ceremony will begin at 3:30 p.m. at Phoenix Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix, 75 N. Second St. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m.

Kote Chundu, MD, professor of Child Health at the College and president and chief executive officer of District Medical Group, will address the students. His keynote is part of the ceremony’s history, where students are welcomed by a respected leader who represents the value system of the college.


Dean Guy Reed, MD, MS

A longtime faculty member, Dr. Chundu has been key to the continued clinical affiliation between the college and Maricopa Medical Center.

Guy Reed, MD, MS, the College of Medicine – Phoenix’s new dean, will also address the students. Dr. Reed is a renowned cardiologist, physician-scientist and health administrator.
Dr. Chundu will tell students that being a physician is a journey, not a destination.

“Medicine is a team sport,” he said. “It should be a lifelong goal not to compete, but to cooperate to improve patient care. The most important skill for a physician to acquire is learning to listen.”

Dr. Chundu has been a professor at the medical school since 1992. He has helped in the admissions process, served as a member of the dean’s search committee and on the Liaison Committee on Medical Education Self Study Taskforce Committee. He is board-certified in pediatrics, pediatric critical care medicine and neonatal and perinatal medicine.

He has stayed committed to the College of Medicine – Phoenix because of its community-centered environment, he said. “The distributive model of clinical training, a community-based emphasis and academic focus are some of the characteristics I like about this campus.”

While wearing a white coat means different things to different physicians, Dr. Chundu said to him, it represents the scientific foundations for the practice of medicine. “The white coat symbolizes the virtues of responsibility, humanity, respect and empathy.”

Cheryl O’Malley, MD, interim vice dean of Academic Affairs, said Dr. Chundu has a “long history of meaningful contributions providing patient care and as a leader and teacher. His words of advice and reflection as our students begin their careers will be very meaningful.”

District Medical Group is a nonprofit, multi-specialty physician group serving the greater Phoenix area and is the exclusive provider of all clinical services, administers all Graduate Medical Education programs and manages medical administrative functions at Maricopa Integrated Health Systems.

The group has supported student-related events, including the senior lunch and the White Coat Ceremony.

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The widespread adoption of this celebratory event, currently practiced by 90 percent of medical schools, is endorsed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Beginning in 2007, the College of Medicine – Phoenix began holding the ceremony at the conclusion of the first academic block, Introduction to Medicine.

In addition to their white coats, students will receive a 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope from Banner University Medicine, the textbook “The Patient History: Evidence-Based Approach to Differential Diagnosis” from District Medical Group, and Keeping Healthcare Human pins from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation.


Direct article link: University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix


Ross F. Goldberg – Top Doctor in Phoenix, AZ

As seen at, June 7, 2017

Ross_GoldbergRoss F. Goldberg, MD, FACS, General Surgeon at District Medical Group, and Chief of Surgery/Chief, Division of General Surgery at Maricopa Integrated Health System, has been named a 2017 Top Doctor in Phoenix, Arizona. Top Doctor Awards is dedicated to selecting and honoring those healthcare practitioners who have demonstrated clinical excellence while delivering the highest standards of patient care.

Dr. Ross F. Goldberg has been in practice for five years, and has already become known as one of the leading general surgeons in the Phoenix area. His career in medicine started in 2003, when he graduated from New York Medical College. He completed his General Surgery residency between St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in New York and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, before completing a Minimally Invasive Surgery fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Dr. Goldberg is certified by the American Board of Surgery, and provides surgical treatments for a wide range of conditions. Expert procedures undertaken by him include minimally invasive and open liver and pancreas surgery, colorectal surgery, gallbladder removal, appendectomy, hernia repair, esophageal and stomach surgery, and many other gastroenterologic procedures.

Dr. Goldberg has earned the coveted title of Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. He is renowned as an expert in minimally invasive surgery, and his expertise and dedication makes Dr. Ross F. Goldberg a very worthy winner of a 2017 Top Doctor Award.

About Top Doctor Awards

Top Doctor Awards specializes in recognizing and commemorating the achievements of today’s most influential and respected doctors in medicine. Our selection process considers education, research contributions, patient reviews, and other quality measures to identify top doctors.

Direct link:

SOURCE:  Top Doctor Awards

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CHIME Fall Forum Interview Series: Jeff Weil, CIO, District Medical Group

Article originally posted at

Jeffrey WeilThere is no shortage of projects going on at District Medical Group, where Jeff Weil (pictured) is CIO. From an integration engine implementation to clinical, business and infrastructure upgrades, and implementation of workflow optimization technologies, Weil and his team certainly have their plate full for 2017. However, for someone who has worn almost every hat in the industry, you would expect nothing less. Weil talks about population health initiatives and how Technology Leadership approaches have changes over the past year; the inexpensive side of data storage; interoperating between different practices with different systems; and how in some cases it is working with records that are literally still in boxes.

CHIME Fall CIO Forum provides valuable education programming, tailored specifically to meet the needs of CIOs and other healthcare IT executives. Justin Campbell, of Galen Healthcare Solutions, had the opportunity to attend this year’s forum and interview CIOs from all over the country. Here is the next interview in the series:

Key Insights
Eventually the ROI is going to turn in our favor if we’ve got staff in house to design and develop interfaces and if we purchased an integration engine as opposed to outsourcing this work to our Vendor Partner.

We really didn’t have a robust infrastructure from which to have an appropriate foundation to expand our business. That was my primary mission when I came in, and I’m finally starting to feel that we’ve accomplished most of that mission.

The thing that really stuck out to me at CHIME this past year was the difference in attitude toward population health technology. Last year, most CIO’s felt they needed all the technology. This year, since people have started to get into these initiatives already, and have started to actually practice some of the data gathering and some of the reporting around population health initiatives and value based care contracts, they took a much more conservative approach.

I think we’re moving into a very interesting time. We still haven’t quite figured out how to optimize our electronic health record systems. We still have physicians struggling with utilization of these systems, yet now we’re being asked to add on new technologies whether it’s connected health or population health initiatives.

Campbell: First and foremost, if you could tell me little bit about yourself and the organization, what EMR application that you use and some initiatives that you’re working on.

Weil: I’ve been in this business a little over 20 years. I sort of fell into it and have worked on large scale engagements in engagement management, mostly with multi-facility or academic health systems. I’ve worked on the provider side in both the acute and ambulatory space, as well as on the vendor side for a little bit, and I’ve done my share of consulting. A couple years ago, I had an opportunity to come here [District Medical Group], from a health system in Fort Worth, Texas and decided it was the right time for this move.

We are primarily a large physician practice, and we also have a couple of our own clinics. About 70% of our revenue is based on the fact that we supply all the physicians and mid-level providers–CRNAs, physician assistants, etc.—to Maricopa Integrated Health System here in the Phoenix area. We also head all eleven departments over there as well as oversee residency programs for the University of Arizona College of Medicine. We just recently made an announcement that we’re going to be working with Dignity Health and Creighton University to train some of their residents as well.

We have two of our own clinics right now. One is a behavioral health clinic in the East Valley. We have a very large multi-specialty pediatric practice for special needs children through a contract with the state and United Healthcare. We also have a partnership with a behavioral health organization here in the valley, where we’re providing physical health to complement their behavioral health. We’re looking to do more in partnerships and with population health cooperatives in the coming years.

Campbell: In terms of the technology that is being leveraged from an EHR and EMR perspective, does that vary from physician to physician or is there an enterprise standard? Tell me a little bit about how you’ve acquired physicians in the past and perhaps the need to migrate data into the system.

Weil: Usually we start from scratch in determining the technology requirements for each one of our partnerships. There will be requirements for clinical documentation as well as practice management. For instance, we do the bulk of the professional billing for the physicians that are at Maricopa. As such, when there’s an encounter that happens over there, Maricopa does the facility billing and we do the professional billing for that physician’s charge. We have an interface with them and their Epic system.

All of the clinical work they perform is in MIHS’ Epic system. In terms of own internal systems, for our clinics, we have GE Centricity EMR as well as GE Centricity Business for our practice management system.

Campbell: Are there challenges around interoperating, maybe between different care settings – acute care versus outpatient care – and are there any technologies that you’re leveraging to facilitate that?

Weil: There are because we’re working on these partnerships activities. For instance, with the behavioral health provider partner here in town, we have to bring in the billing information from a different EMR and practice management system into ours, so we always have to get creative in working on integration strategies. Moving into this next fiscal year, we’re investing in our own integration engine, as well as bringing on staff to support that initiative. If you think about it—and I’ll just throw out the normal budgeting number—but every single time we do an interface it may cost $15,000 and take 90 days to develop. Eventually the ROI is going to turn in our favor if we’ve got staff in house to design and develop interfaces on our own integration engine platform. We’re getting ready shortly after the first of the year to start our implementation on that.

Campbell: Interoperability is a topic that’s near and dear to me. We actually hosted an interoperability panel last year with some folks representing HIEs, some representing government, and some representing practices. It was eye opening to say the least. I imagine you’ve got the short list of vendors out there. Are you going through the selection process now?

Weil: We already went through a bit of a selection process. What it came down to was the fact that our analysts need to wear multiple hats and even though I may bring in an interface engineer, they may also be doing a bit of database administration for our healthcare systems. That’s why we decided to go with Corepoint, because it offers an object-oriented programming interface, as well as a modular build approach.

Campbell: Absolutely. We’ve heard great things about Corepoint; rated top of KLAS and they offer some great thought leadership. They have a great community and resource center, so it’s no surprise that they would be at the top of the list. I imagine, coming from a diverse background where you’ve actually worked on the consulting side of it before, you get it and you understand from the vendor perspective the things to look for and the things you want to do your due diligence on.
Weil: We’re a fairly small shop. I’ve got seventeen people in all of IT, and that’s both on the applications and technology side, supporting almost 1100 employees. We’ve got quite a bit going on so I do need people to wear multiple hats and if I can make it a little bit easier for the person working on the interfaces to do their job to build and maintain, then so be it.

Campbell: Tell me how integration works today for the medical group. Is it point-to-point as opposed to hub-and-spoke, and will you be replacing that current model?

Weil: Everything is point-to-point. The plan is to deploy the new interface engine and move to a hub-and-spoke model. Any new initiatives would be implemented first on the new platform with the goal being that by end of June, we will have migrated all of the legacy interfaces over to that platform.

Campbell: And the good news is, at this time, there’s really a lot of interface libraries to leverage out there. It’s not like in the early days of EMR adoption when it was a challenge, based on the APIs that were available. Today, given the communities that are out there, it should make for a more efficient deployment of integration across the enterprise.

Shifting gears, a bit, tell me a little bit about archival, is that a topic that’s relevant to your organization? Do you ever face legacy application retirement? Tell me about the strategy within the organization in terms of managing the application portfolio, if that’s something that falls underneath your purview.

Weil: When they brought me in two and a half years ago, my primary mission was to build a robust infrastructure from which we would have an appropriate foundation to expand. That was my goal when I came in, and we finally got to the point where the infrastructure is in a good place. We haven’t had to retire any systems yet, but what we did do was implement more of a cloud-based archive strategy. We have an appliance on-site and everything gets backed up to it on a schedule. If we need to restore, we can do quick restore. The appliance actually archives to the cloud and replicates so it gives us multiple layers of redundancy that we really need.

Campbell: Absolutely. We actually recently supported a client with our business continuity product called VitalCenter. They had a downtime situation and VitalCenter allowed them to continue to document through the downtime. It’s like an insurance policy – you have to have it.

What are your thoughts on data retention requirements? What is your policy in regards for retaining data whether that’s in paper form or electronic form? Have you had eDiscovery inquires in the past where you’ve had to furnish and produce a patient chart based upon an inquiry?

Weil: You can imagine that with a large number of providers, record inquiries occur quite often, so we’ve had to do quite a bit or eDiscovery. We do a combination of things, depending on the situation. For instance, at the large special needs children’s clinic, all of the legacy medical records have been scanned in to the system. We basically have a database of scanned documents that we have to use if there’s older information we’re trying to pull.

For the most part, as part of eDiscovery process, we either take some sort of an export out and send it to file or we have to print a whole bunch of stuff. We end up looking through all of our databases. We also provide medical directorship to some nursing homes/long term care facilities and other facilities here in the area. They don’t – as I’m sure you well know – necessarily have EMR systems and as such many records are in boxes in basements or over at Iron Mountain. We have to go to wherever they store their records and pull that information out.As you might imagine, it’s not an easy task.

Campbell: No, certainly not. I can imagine just the amount of effort that’s needed and that detracts you from other organizational objectives. It’s not as easy as one thinks when it becomes electronic because then you have to pull from different systems, you an audit trail to maintain. A lot of the time the metadata is the most important component because it tells you what happened, when and why. You have to protect the integrity of that patient record and be able to show why the care was provided in a certain way for that patient.

Closing out that topic, one of the challenges Galen finds when working with clients is that, when we’ve migrated them from, let’s say Allscripts to Epic, we archived a lot of the data. What they don’t get sometimes is they think it’s simply a matter of using one of the industry agnostic vendors, but healthcare’s’ a lot different. Fundamentally, when you archive that data you may be forced to change the shape of. You’re moving it out of the system and the shape of that data could change. In addition, when you present that data for viewing, you could also be changing the shape of it. There’s just so many considerations and as you can tell, it’s been a focal point for us.

One of the things I’ve talked about with your peers is the purging of data. What is your policy on retention? Do you hold data forever? I imagine that takes up boxes, and that takes up storage space. Tell me a little bit about the organizational policies and maybe future strategy in regards to that.

Weil: My understanding is that it’s seven years and then for pediatrics it’s until they’re 21. We haven’t gotten to the point yet where we feel like we have to get rid of anything just because storage is fairly cheap at this point. For now, we’ll keep on storing and storing until it seems like it’s worthwhile to move things off to something, which I don’t know what that would be yet. It’s an interesting topic because it used to be much more relevant than it is now. The cost of storage has gone down so much. Years ago you used to have information life cycle management and based on the type of data you used to do this that and the other thing, but that isn’t necessarily as relevant anymore.

Campbell: Now the issue is that it’s the volume of the data. As so many people can appreciate, with the deluge of data, how do I get at the data I want and how do I derive insights from that. That’s the promise and premise of population health.

Let’s talk about initiatives for next year. I imagine the deployment of the interface engine technology and development and delivery of those interfaces is going to consume a lot of your time next year. Do you have a plan as to when you anticipate completing that project? Are there other population health initiatives that you have on the agenda for next year?

Weil: There are a couple of population health initiatives under discussion. We just started a value based contract with one of our payer partners. We’ve got the Corepoint implementation. We’re talking about two factor identification for our remote access portal. We’re going to implement an across the board email archiving strategy. We just updated to Exchange 2013 and that has its own robust archiving strategy, and we want to be able to handle the archive activities for our users. We’ve got a decent sized EMR upgrade coming, that will be done hopefully sometime in the first quarter. We will likely replace some of our ancillary clinical systems with a cloud based solution. We have a SharePoint upgrade scheduled.

Campbell: So no shortage of projects in the next year!

Weil: No and if you know me this is pretty typical, I don’t necessarily like to remain stagnant too much. This years’ workload is actually less than it has been in the past couple of years so my team feels like we’re going a little bit easy. This years’ projects are smaller in scope and size and will allow for focus on optimization activities.

Campbell: Let’s circle back to CHIME. Tell me why you chose to attend the event? Were there key themes that stood out to you this year? Was there a focus group that struck you? A presentation that was compelling?

Weil: From my standpoint, it’s where can you go and collaborate with close to a thousand people that have the same interests and challenges that you do. That’s why I enjoy being a part of CHIME and always get a lot out of it. I feel energized when I come back to the office from a CHIME forum. When you’re around the industry for as long as I’ve been, there’s a lot of benefit to being able to visit with and network with old friends and colleagues to be able to share ideas.

Security was up there. I have to say I think in the past two years I’ve come to learn more about security than I would have ever known. I’m also the organization’s chief security officer, and we’ve implemented intrusion detection and protection systems. We have pretty sophisticated endpoint protection for both malware and viruses, and we have endpoint encryption. The only thing that we’re missing, that I really want to put in place, is SIEM technology. We are logging, but to actually get anything of value out of the logs is a monumental task right now.

The thing that really stuck out to me at CHIME this past year was the difference in attitude towards population health technology. I went to one focus group that was done by Cerner that I had attended last year. We run through an exercise where we are given $10 million dollars are provided the programs objectives, types of contracts, and the costs for all the different kinds of resources that may be needed including human capital, systems, and technology. We teamed with three other CIOs to determine what we thought the best plan is. Last year, everybody said I need a data warehouse, I need this, I need that, and blew all their money on the technology.

This year, there was a stark difference in how the group approached the exercise. It seems that since people have started to get into these initiatives already, and have started to actually practice some of the data gathering and some of the reporting around population health initiatives and value based care contracts, they took a much more conservative approach.

They were bringing on health coaches; bringing on a data scientist to look through the CMS data to do manual risk stratification; bringing on care managers and care coordinators. Then in year two or three, they begin to implement their pop health solution, when you see what you’re getting in from an incentive stand point. It’s sort of guarding that ROI in a much more conservative approach. I actually thought that was extremely interesting to see the difference in approach in just a year.

Campbell: Fascinating. It still remains a very fragmented pop health and analytics market. John Moore, of Chilmark Research, pointed out that people are still dipping their toes in the water, and like you said, what they want to do is understand the incentive and reimbursement side of it, and make sure that the dollars and cents are making sense, before they make a substantial investment in technology. As such, we’re seeing a lot of point solutions, such as spreadsheets, taking the place of adopting an enterprise population health management solution that is marketed as solving all problems, but certainly comes with a huge price tag.

Weil: As with any of these technologies when they first start out, there probably isn’t any one of them that has everything that you need. You notice people sort of piecing together little best of breed plugins as opposed to going with a single enterprise solution. That’s been typical of this industry over the time that I’ve been in it. When things start out people tend to go with a best of breed approach, and have to integrate the systems. The vendors eventually catch up and offer either all-in-one solutions or they end up buying and putting together suites of solutions.

Campbell: Right that makes a lot of sense. It seems the path to realizing true ROI is by approaching a slice, and solving for a particular problem, as opposed to trying to boil the ocean.
I certainly appreciate your time here in speaking with me and for the tremendously salient and cogent insights that you’ve provided. Are there any closing thoughts before we conclude?

Weil: It’s very interesting to speak about these things. I think we’re moving into a very interesting time. We still haven’t quite figured out how to optimize our electronic health record systems. We still have physicians struggling with utilization of these systems, yet now we’re being asked to add on new technologies whether it’s connected health or population health initiatives.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

About Jeff Weil
Jeff is an experienced Healthcare IT Executive with over 20 years of experience leveraging the use of technology to meet the needs of Healthcare Organizations in the Acute Care, Academic, Public and Ambulatory domains. He brings with him a wealth of experience in leading teams in the implementation and support of multiple vendor EMRs, Vendor Neutral Archives, Medical Imaging Systems, Ancillary Clinical Systems, Perioperative Systems, Supply Chain Management Systems, Solution Design and Disparate System Integration.

Prior to joining DMG, Jeff held the Role of Project Director at John Peter Smith Health Networks in Fort Worth Texas where he was responsible for the delivery of Information Technology and Reporting needs required to support the startup and sustainability of the organization’s 26 DSRIP (Delivery System Reform Incentive Plan) projects.

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ramapo College of New Jersey and is a Certified Professional in Health Information Management Systems and is Certified Healthcare CIO eligible. He has been an active member of the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society for over 20 years where he currently serves on the board of the Arizona state chapter as Director of Health Information Exchange, Interoperability, Privacy and Security. Jeff is also a member of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, also known as CHIME. Jeff serves on the Arizona Health-e Connection Board of Directors, which is a statewide non-profit organization driving the adoption and optimization of health information technology and health information exchange.

About Justin Campbell

Justin is Vice President, Strategy, at Galen Healthcare Solutions. He is responsible for market intelligence, segmentation, business and market development and competitive strategy. Justin has been consulting in Health IT for over 10 years, guiding clients in the implementation, integration and optimization of clinical systems. He has been on the front lines of system replacement and data migration and is passionate about advancing interoperability in healthcare and harnessing analytical insights to realize improvements in patient care. Justin can be found on Twitter at

@TJustinCampbell and LinkedIn.

Multiple Disciplinary Collaborative Partnership – Academic Health Education Programs in Arizona

Kote Chundu District Medical GroupI am excited to announce a collaborative partnership (Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance) between District Medical Group, Maricopa County Special Health Care District, Dignity Health and Creighton University School of Medicine to leverage the combined expertise and resources to cooperate across multiple disciplines of health sciences, clinical learning environment, research, and teaching medical students, residents, fellows, nurses and related allied health professionals.

This memorandum of understanding (MOU) is intended as an overarching framework for joint collaboration between the Parties toward the goal of developing and operating high quality academic health education programs that produce top clinical health care professionals trained in quality and safety to meet the needs of Arizona’s patient population.

The areas of collaboration include:

  • Governance: through a multi-member institutional oversight committee consisting of the Parties, serving as the governing body of the Alliance, the Alliance will develop a strategic plan, provide operational oversight, strategic direction, and ensure excellence in the clinical learning environment.
  • Phase 1: Creighton shall become the sponsoring institution for accreditation purposes for residents employed by Dignity and MIHS for residency programs in family medicine, emergency medicine, radiology, and psychiatry as well as fellowship programs in child and adolescent psychiatry. Creighton will with the support/collaboration of the Alliance partners develop an accelerated nursing program in Phoenix. Creighton shall become the sponsoring institution for the Phase 1 residency   programs beginning July 1, 2017 following institutional ACGME accreditation approval.
  • Phase 2: To develop new or expanded programs as mutually agreed upon in nursing, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, medicine, and various medical specialties and sub-specialties.

Strong partnerships between teaching hospitals, physicians and medical schools provide the very best environments for training future generations of physicians and other health care professionals. By keeping these providers in Arizona we will effectively address provider shortages and improve the health of our communities.

Kote Chundu, MD, MMM.
President & CEO

DMG would like to congratulate Dr. Boskailo on his 2016 Healthcare Heroes Award!

MIHS attending psychiatrist Dr. Esad Boskailo spent a year in six concentration camps during the Bosnian war. He endured torture and starvation and doctored other torture victims before being freed by UN troops. Today, he uses his experiences to help trauma victims and train psychiatry residents on how to treat traumatic disorders.

Dr. Boskailo is featured in MIHS’s ‘It’s Who I Am’ Public Education campaign: Dr. Esad Boskailo’s Story

The Phoenix Business Journal’s Health Care Heroes Awards program is one of the most prestigious recognitions of individuals and organizations involved in health care in Arizona.

Congratulations Dr. Boskailo!

GE Healthcare’s Centricity Imaging Tour

On Monday, August 29 and Tuesday, August 30, DMG was excited to host GE Healthcare’s Centricity Imaging Experience Tour truck onsite at DMG’s CRS Clinic. The truck, which demonstrated solutions ranging from the Centricity Clinical Archive to the latest offerings on the GE Health Cloud, brought together IT professionals, business leaders and healthcare practitioners from the greater Phoenix area enabling cross-functional and collaborative conversations.

As the industry navigates the transition to value-based care, we at DMG welcomed this opportunity to discuss and experience the digital health future that can support our journey.

Meaningful Use Program 2014 with the State of AZ

District Medical Group and Maricopa Integrated Health Systems are working together to participate in the Meaningful Use Program 2014 with the State of Arizona. Meaningful Use is an effort led by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS grants an incentive payment to Eligible Professionals (EPs) or Eligible Hospitals (EHs), who can demonstrate that they have engaged in efforts to adopt, implement or upgrade certified EHR technology and beginning in 2015 there may be payment adjustments for not participating or not meeting the measures. In order to encourage widespread EHR adoption, promote innovation and to avoid imposing excessive burden on healthcare providers, meaningful use was showcased as a phased approach, which is divided into three stages which span 2011 (data capture and sharing), 2013 (advanced clinical processes) and 2015 (improved outcomes).




It proposes the meaningful use of interoperable electronic health records throughout the United States health care delivery system as a critical national goal. Meaningful Use is defined by the use of certified EHR technology in a meaningful manner (for example electronic prescribing); ensuring that the certified EHR technology is connected in a manner that provides for the electronic exchange of health information to improve the quality of care; and that in using certified EHR technology the provider must submit to the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) information on quality of care and other measures.

The concept of meaningful use rested on the ‘5 pillars’ of health outcomes policy priorities, namely:

1. Improving quality, safety, efficiency, and reducing health disparities
2. Engage patients and families in their health
3. Improve care coordination
4. Improve population and public health
5. Ensure adequate privacy and security protection for personal health information

The CMS final rule requirements have been divided into 15 core set objectives, and 10 menu set objectives (where there is an option to pick 5 of 10. However, it is mandatory to include at least one population/public health measure).

For more information regarding the Meaningful Use contact:

Veronica Ojeda, BSHA/HM
Meaningful Use Project Manager
District Medical Group