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This profile was last updated on 9/2/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Mary Frances Barthel

Wrong Dr. Mary Frances Barthel?

Chief Quality and Safety Officer

Phone: (217) ***-****  HQ Phone
Blessing Health System
P.O. Box 7005
Quincy , Illinois 62305
United States

Company Description: Blessing Health System is dedicated to providing high quality, accessible health care showing compassion and respect to those we serve. As part of that service, we...   more

Employment History


  • MD
18 Total References
Web References
WHEN MEDICARE LAUNCHED its two-midnight ..., 1 April 2014 [cached]
WHEN MEDICARE LAUNCHED its two-midnight rule last fall, Mary Frances Barthel, MD, thought she had it all figured out.
As director of the Cogent Healthcare hospitalist program at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Ill., Dr. Barthel spent a great deal of time hammering the point home that under the new rule, doctors' expectations of how much time patients would need in the hospital would determine whether they would be admitted or placed in observation.
No longer, as Dr. Barthel understood it, would she and her colleagues have to parse out admission criteria in commercial
"We did a big blitz around the Oct. 1 kickoff," says Dr. Barthel. "We had a medical staff meeting, mailings and one-on-one education with physicians who admit a lot of patients. We came up with a really good synopsis of the final rule and advice on what to do."
But six months later, Dr. Barthel has had to circle back to those same doctors with a different approach.
"The more we heard from the advisory company, the less confident we were saying that time was the most important factor," says Dr. Barthel. "Lately, we've gone back to using InterQual to answer whether the patient's presenting problems meet medical necessity for inpatient admission, and then we also ask the physician to predict how long he or she expects the patient to be in the hospital."
Her group now bills many more ICU patients as observation than they did before Oct. 1. As for the rest of the one-midnight inpatient stays, "I get the impression that the advisory company believes such stays should basically never happen," says Dr. Barthel.
Or should they-like Dr. Barthel and her colleagues- still rely on admission criteria that may (may!) provide some protection once recovery audit contractors (RACs) start tackling claims?
"It used to be that outpatient physicians who admit their own patients could just fax an order to the admitting office, but we no longer allow that," says Mary Frances Barthel, MD, director of the Cogent Healthcare hospitalist program at the hospital. Instead, a representative from the physician's clinic has to call one of the hospital's utilization nurses to discuss the patient's status and expected length of stay.
For outpatient physicians covered in the hospital by hospitalists, that's now a two-step process: The outpatient physician has to call the hospitalist, who then calls a utilization nurse.
"That order used to be a fax before," says Dr. Barthel. "Now, it has to be a phone call."
Then there's this innovation: Dr. Barthel, who's also the hospital's utilization management physician advisor, has designed two versions of the letter sent to the attending physician when an admission is downgraded to observation status before discharge.
"One version says, 'Your patient did not meet medical necessity requirements so was changed to observation,' " she notes.
Mary Frances Barthel, MD, is ..., 1 Mar 2012 [cached]
Mary Frances Barthel, MD, is now medical director of the Cogent HMG group at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Ill. With only two providers working during the day, she doesn't think the group yet has the critical mass to consider localization.
But her former job was as hospitalist medical director at Gundersen Lutheran Health System in La Crosse, Wis., a group Dr. Barthel continues to work with as a consultant. The program implemented some unit localization in 2010 and saw a quick jump in the number of patients placed geographically for each hospitalist team from 30% to 50%.
Dr. Barthel says the group wanted to build on that "early win," but the hospitalists' push for more comprehensive localization ran into another major priority of the hospital: improving ED throughput. When hospitalists would advocate for sending patients to geographic units, other hospital personnel would want to send patients through to the first available bed instead.
"The staff in the admission center had to decide who to listen to that day to figure out where to place patients," Dr. Barthel recalls. "I'd be on the phone saying, 'Put them on my unit,' but a hospital supervisor would be saying, 'No, put them over there.'"
When the first-available-bed option slowed down localization, Dr. Barthel says the group opted for "workarounds. One was that the group-which has 12 MDs and eight PAs-assigned a PA to a specific unit. While hospitalists would still be roaming the hospital to see at least half their patients, the PAs could stay put and participate in multidisciplinary rounds on a particular unit, even if the hospitalist wasn't available.
Nursing staff also would accommodate physicians who had to attend multidisciplinary rounds on more than one unit. "It wasn't the ideal, but it was the reality," says Dr. Barthel. "They'd work with me to be available when I was able to get over there."
The workarounds were successful, she adds. But the downside of that success was that hospitalists lost some of their focus on localization. "The doctors didn't see as much value assigned to the actual geography," she explains, "so I don't think it's a big priority for them right now."
Do you need to be certified in palliative care? - Cogent Healthcare, 1 Sept 2012 [cached]
Mary Frances Barthel, MD, is medical director with the Cogent HMG hospitalist program at the 330-bed Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Ill. She says that hospitals like Blessing would have a hard time recruiting someone board certified in palliative care.
Dr. Barthel also knows how the other half lives: Her previous job was as chief of medicine at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, Wis. The robust palliative care program there consisted of three full-time palliative medicine physicians, a full-time hospice director, three part-time physicians, three full-time nurse practitioners, additional nurses and other support staff. The team not only saw patients but admitted them to the service as the primary team.
Blessing, on the other hand, is starting slow, developing the palliative care program with one physician and one registered nurse, with Dr. Barthel in an advisory role.
Despite her interest and experience in palliative care, she is not pursuing certification. "I don't feel the need to be certified, and I wouldn't do a fellowship at this point in my life," says Dr. Barthel.
Today's Hospitalist :: Hospitalist program directors struggle to keep pace with change and master management skills, 1 Sept 2009 [cached]
Mary Frances Barthel, MD, who directs the hospitalist program at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in LaCrosse, Wisc., prides herself on her ability to build consensus among hospitalists and other departments when examining critical issues. But when push comes to shove, she knows that she's the one who needs to act like an executive.
"If you're going to be a manager," she says, "at some point you need to make a decision.
Today's Hospitalist :: Is moonlighting right for you?, 1 April 2008 [cached]
As medical director for the hospitalist program at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in LaCrosse, Wisc., Mary Frances Barthel, MD, supervises nine physicians and eight physician assistants. While her day job certainly keeps her busy, Dr. Barthel still finds time to moonlight in the hospital's urgent care clinic.
The pay is good-up to $127 per hour-but Dr. Barthel says that money isn't the primary reason she moonlights.
Dr. Barthel's reasons for moonlighting may not be universal. Other hospitalists, particularly those with new homes and growing families, say they moonlight for additional income.
Some of Dr. Barthel's partners at Gundersen Lutheran who are building new homes, for example, take up to 10 extra shifts a month at the hospital or at an affiliated facility to supplement their income.
But according to Dr. Barthel, she prefers a more laidback approach to moonlighting. Though she moonlights less now than she used to, even in her heyday she worked no more than four extra shifts a month, many of which were only four to five hours long.
Dr. Barthel also recommends not committing to more than one or two shifts, at least initially, until you're sure the work will be a good fit. She also suggests that hospitalists look for variety and not take on a position that echoes their regular job.
"A hospital can be so hectic and fast-paced that it can get very exhausting," she notes. "Try a couple of different things.
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