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By Stephen W. Earnhart, RN, CRNA, MA
CEO, Earnhart & Associates, Austin, TX
Every surgery center and hospital surgical department has committees. As laborious as dealing with these committees can be, perhaps none is more important or overlooked as the Medical Executive Committee (MEC).
Rarely do individual hospital and surgery center personnel fully understand the role of this committee and the tremendous contribution it plays in safety and successful management of a quality facility. The MEC includes elected or “volunteered” surgeons from each specialty the facility performs, including anesthesia, the medical director of the facility, the administrator, and nurse manager of the hospital department or ASC.
The committee makes recommendations on matters that affect quality of care, including staffing, equipment, space planning, credentialing, medical staff appointment and reappointment, and clinical privileges. Further, the MEC helps ensure the ethical conduct and competent performance on the part of all members of the medical staff.
Few understand this powerful committee; if they did, more surgeons would want to be included. Although this is not a complete list, it does help explain the role of the MEC and might help everyone understand it better:
While not required, I often invite employees to sit in as a guest on some MEC meetings so they may witness how the committee functions. Most facilities will allow this but ask the guest to leave when the MEC goes into what they call “executive session.” This is where the board can deal with legal, personnel, contractual, and similar facility issues that board members are legally permitted to discuss in a private session.
The more you know about how your facility functions, the better you will understand what happens in the background and how it can affect you and your position.
(Earnhart & Associates is a consulting firm specializing in all aspects of outpatient surgery development and management. Earnhart & Associates can be reached at 5114 Balcones Woods Drive, Suite 307-203, Austin, TX, 78759. Phone: (512) 297-7575. Fax: (512) 233-2979. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.earnhart.com. Instagram: Earnhart.associates.)
Financial Disclosure: Consulting Editor Mark Mayo, CASC, MS, reports he is a consultant for ASD Management. Nurse Planner Kay Ball, PhD, RN, CNOR, FAAN, reports she is a consultant for Ethicon USA and Mobile Instrument Service and Repair. Editor Jonathan Springston, Editor Jill Drachenberg, Author Melinda Young, Physician Editor Steven A. Gunderson, DO, FACA, DABA, CASC, Author Stephen W. Earnhart, RN, CRNA, MA, Accreditations Manager Amy M. Johnson, MSN, RN, CPN, and Editorial Group Manager Leslie Coplin report no consultant, stockholder, speaker’s bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study.