Paul Taheri, M.D., M.B.A., has joined the School of Medicine as deputy dean and chief executive officer of Yale Medical Group (YMG), following a nationwide search. Taheri began his new role at Yale in early March.
Taheri was the senior associate dean for clinical affairs and president and CEO of the University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Group in Burlington as well as a professor of surgery at UVM. There, he was responsible for overseeing and managing a 500-member multispecialty practice with more than 1,000 staff and $250 million in annual revenue. Taheri has been credited with preparing the group, both financially and operationally, for the future of health care reform.
He comes to Yale at a pivotal time for the school’s clinical practice, which has expanded remarkably over the past decade. The size of the clinical faculty has grown dramatically, clinical revenues have nearly doubled, and there has been a significant expansion in the breadth and depth of clinical programs. With these developments has come the need for a more centralized and unified physician group practice.
On a national scale, the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act represents a sea change for American medicine—particularly for academic medical centers such as Yale’s—and the nation’s serious shortage of primary care physicians presents an ongoing challenge.
“We know Obamacare is going to be here. We have to go with a very strong primary care base,” says Taheri. “As long as we are data-driven, thoughtful, and methodical, we can manage the changes and balance all the missions of the enterprise, and come out more able to bear risk.”
Taheri has been charged with establishing a strong management structure for YMG and maintaining its high-performing clinical operation. Working with department chairs, faculty, and clinical partners, he says, he plans to develop and implement measures that improve and standardize clinical operations, enhance revenues, and make the best possible use of precious available space.
“There are huge benefits to standardization. We could do better than we do now” across the many sites in the Yale-New Haven Healthcare System, Taheri says. “Whether [patients] go to New Haven or Bridgeport, it should be the same experience.”
Taheri is past chair of the Group on Faculty Practices for the Association of American Medical Colleges and an examiner for the American Board of Surgery. He has lectured broadly on various business topics related to medicine, including the cost of care, physician leadership, and optimizing systems. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University and his medical degree from New York University, then completed his general surgical residency at Tulane University.
Taheri succeeds David J. Leffell, M.D., the David P. Smith Professor of Dermatology, professor of surgery, and chief of the medical school’s Section of Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology.
Leffell, who spearheaded the branding of the clinical practice under the Yale Medical Group name, has served in successive YMG leadership positions since 1996. “Dr. Leffell is responsible for much of the transformation of Yale’s clinical practice over the past 15 years, while continuing to serve as an extraordinarily successful section chief,” says Robert J. Alpern, M.D., dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine. “His leadership has significantly advanced YMG’s reputation for quality of care and service, and he has spearheaded many initiatives, including the selection of the medical center’s first integrated electronic health record system.”
Michael Berman, M.D., has overseen YMG’s operations as interim director and CEO during the past year, and he led the search process that recruited Taheri. During the transition to Taheri’s leadership, Berman is serving as a special advisor to the clinical practice.