To help meet the ever-increasing demands and challenges of today’s healthcare environment, Beaufort Memorial Hospital has hired its first chief medical officer (CMO), an intermediary between doctors and administrators charged with advocating for cost-effective, high-quality patient care.
Kurt Gambla, D.O., an internist in the community for 24 years, was chosen for the position following a national search conducted by an external hiring firm. In addition to serving as a primary care physician, Gambla has been involved with virtually every administrative committee in the hospital.
“Kurt has always been a person who has looked at the big picture,” said BMH President and CEO Rick Toomey. “He is level-headed, highly respected and has a strong desire to work as a liaison between the medical staff, management and board of trustees.”
A graduate of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Gambla spent his first two years in the medical field working for Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services. After six years in private practice, he took a position with Beaufort Memorial Primary Care. He also has served the last 16 years as hospice director of THA Healthcare.
Gambla takes over as vice president, chief medical officer, on June 1.
“The majority of hospitals across the country today have CMOs,” Gambla said. “With all the new regulations and the business of medicine growing more complex every day, you need to have a go-between who can facilitate what doctors need and what the hospital has to do to comply with federal regulations and keep a healthy bottom line.”
A long-time participant in the governance of the hospital, Gambla is uniquely qualified to serve as the voice of the medical staff. Since joining Beaufort Memorial in 1999, he has served on nearly a dozen hospital committees and was chief of staff from 2003 to 2005. He also served as chairman of the Credentials Committee, responsible for reviewing and evaluating the qualifications of physicians applying for hospital privileges.
“Over the years, through my experience on various committees, I’ve gained some valuable insights about the culture of the hospital and an appreciation for how the various departments can mesh,” Gambla said.
In his new post, Gambla will collaborate with Beaufort Memorial’s medical staff to develop, implement and enhance clinical protocols and patient care services and programs. He will help recruit new physicians and play an instrumental role in developing a strategic plan for the hospital as it continues to expand and improve healthcare services in the future.
Among the areas of care the hospital may want to explore, Gambla said, are integrative medicine, non-emergent cardiovascular interventions and palliative care for patients with advanced chronic illnesses.
“It’s inevitable that we will grow to keep up with the demographics,” Gambla said. “We need to decide where we want to be going as an institution. As CMO, I’ll work with the senior leadership team to make sure we’re all moving in the same direction.”