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2011 Health Care Champion Honoree: Dr. James Rogers

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Though Dr. James Rogers graduated from medical school in 1980, he hasn’t yet stopped chasing knowledge that will help him better care for patients.

“People say you go to school, then you quit for your job. I don’t feel like I graduated,” says Rogers, who served a term as chief resident during his residency at University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.

Prior to joining St. John’s Clinic in 1995, he was in private practice at Springfield Internal Medicine Associates.

An internist and fellow of the American College of Physicians, Rogers is an active proponent in improving the delivery of care.

In addition to caring for patients and serving in a leadership role as chairman of primary care for St. John’s Clinic, Rogers is the medical director for the clinic’s Physician Group Practice Demonstration Project for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

St. John’s was one of 10 sites in the country approached by Medicare with a proposal to split profits if doctors could show proven results of improved care and money saved by improving health and cutting the number of doctor visits for patients.

That approach is new for the medical industry, Rogers says.

“They’ve always paid us for seeing patients, not for keeping them well,” he says. “To see fewer people (and charge) less didn’t make good economic sense. But it came down to being in that room and saying it was the right thing to do.”

That program, which has been renamed the Accountable Care Organization, or Shared Savings Program, will eventually be available nationwide.

An advocate not only for improving health care delivery, Rogers also works to keep patients healthy through initiatives such as the Greene County Health Care Alliance high-risk flu vaccine program and Breathe Easy Springfield. Rogers also has worked with the Access to Care advisory committee, supporting the nonprofit’s initiative to identify gaps in care, specifically targeting overuse of emergency departments and identifying a safety net for underserved patient populations.

In all of his roles, Rogers is motivated by what he calls a personal unrest to keep improving processes and outcomes.

“Few things are perfect as they sit – and if they are, chances are they won’t be when the environment changes,” he says.

Click here for full coverage of the 2011 Salute to Health Care.
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