TeamHealth's Culture of Respect and Inclusion
The topic of diversity and inclusion is not a simple topic, and it has deep implications across our society. In this #BeyondClinicalMedicine podcast Dr. Rob Strauss gains insights on many aspects of diversity and inclusion from a clinical perspective from Dr. Stan Thompson, TeamHealth Chief Clinical Officer for LifePoint Group and Chair of TeamHealth’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Dr. Thompson shares information clinicians should consider about unconscious and implicit bias, leadership issues and other ways that these issues can impact patient care.
A message from Leif Murphy, President and CEO:
At TeamHealth, we have a culture and a value system that will not tolerate racism, hateful speech, intimidation or harassment – and we all know that permitting any of those to manifest within or outside the workplace results in barriers, biases and inequities.
I want to assure you of all of the following:
1. We have the vehicles in place to report the issues, through supervisors, regional HR leaders, or our compliance hotline;
2. We have solid policies for how to evaluate issues and hold wrongdoers to account; and
3. We have internal communications networks to strengthen the policy and the process when things have been missed.
We will continue providing the finest possible patient care while honoring our commitment to these core values.
June 23, 2020
Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at TeamHealth – Pride Month
The TeamHealth Diversity and Inclusion Committee is working to build a culture of trust and celebration of the differences that make our team members unique. We’re pleased to share this latest update from Wes Ledford, HIE Project Manager, in honor of Pride Month:
At TeamHealth, we support the dignity and equality of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). In June, we celebrate gay pride or LGBT pride, and offer a caring ear to our colleagues of different genders.
Annual pride events often are planned in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, named after the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, where a series of violent protests, street demonstrations and police raids happened in 1969. The first Gay Pride Festival was held in New York the next year. Pride festivals in other parts of the world mark other important LGBT turning points such as the decriminalization of homosexuality in Russia in May 1993.
Pride events bring visibility to the high levels of shame and social injustice experienced by LGBT people and continue the call for systemic and structural change. These changes must extend to the workplace, as they do at TeamHealth. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ+ people are protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. My company’s compliance training was adjusted to reflect this change, but the policy already existed to include gender identity as a protected class.
Pride festivals and pride months remind marginalized LGBTQ+ people that they are valued and accepted. But, most importantly, we can extend our understanding to those different than us.
June 19, 2020
Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at TeamHealth
As Leif Murphy, President and Chief Executive Officer, has said, “We have had to confront behavior that has offended our value system and our commitment to ensuring that our company is a place where people want to work. As an organization, we will not tolerate racism, hateful speech, intimidation, or harassment in any setting or context that affects or threatens to affect our workplace. But we need to do more.”
Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, led by Dr. Stan Thompson, Chief Clinical Officer, Lifepoint Group; Dr. Jody Crane, Chief Medical Officer; and Eric Norman, Chief Human Resources Officer, is working to build a culture of trust and celebration of the differences that make our team members unique.
Following is a message from Mike Wiechart, Chief Operating Officer in honor of Juneteenth:
We are living in challenging times with the events of the past many weeks weighing heavily on our society and our consciousness. However, I am confident in what we can achieve together when we are willing to do what is right, to stand up for justice and to support one another.
The recent news regarding the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky has been alarming for all of us and like many of you, I am experiencing recurring sadness, frustration, anger, and disappointment at these events that highlights the systemic injustice and racism that still exists within our country. At TeamHealth, we wholeheartedly denounce and will not tolerate racism, hateful speech and actions, and the perpetuation of racist thoughts and ideas. We value the beauty of the rich diversity that each of you have brought to our organization and the communities you serve. You are the best part of who we are, and we want you to know that we see you, we acknowledge your pain, and we value you and your experiences.
I suspect many of you, like me, chose healthcare as a profession because you care about people and want to make a difference for others during the most vulnerable times of their lives. Today is Juneteenth, a celebration of the ending of slavery, a good day to remind all of us that people in our community are hurting now during the tremendous unrest that surrounds us − particularly African Americans − but also all of us who long for a brighter future for our country. I implore each of you that you can make a difference today in the roles you play in your community, your hospital, or among your colleagues. Here are some things you can do:
- Check on your African American colleagues and lend a sincere, supportive ear.
- Use your platform and opportunities as a way of lifting others who may not get the same opportunity as you have been afforded.
- Be kind to those around you. It costs nothing to smile.
- Use your knowledge and platform to support policies – here at TeamHealth and at the facility where you serve − that improve access to care for all.
- Call out comments and statements by family, friends and colleagues that have a racist undertone.
- Seek to understand your own implicit biases and think through your personal narrative of the meaning of your race and other races. You can take the implicit association test here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
- Get involved with local organizations that work to make a fair and just society.
- Rise above the divisiveness that is so pervasive in our culture. Dare to be different.
Many of you are working on the front lines and/or are leading those who are working on the front lines. More than ever, I applaud the ways that you have adapted to a rapidly changing world during this global pandemic. I encourage you to find ways to support lasting change within your community. Now is the time to make a difference. We know you can do it and we are here to help you.
Juneteenth: While Juneteenth is widely recognized as a celebration of the ending of slavery, there is more to the story. It actually recognizes the day, June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger and the Union troops landed in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This “news” was almost three months after the official end of the Civil War, and amazingly, a full two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which became official on January 1, 1863 – and ended slavery in the United States.
This, along with recent events, reminds us of two things. First, the battle for racial equality, justice and equal opportunity for all is a never-ending effort. The effort to end systemic injustice and racism remains a battle for the hearts and minds of all people. Second, when it comes to fully solving systemic injustice and racism, it will never be enough to have proclamations, or policies, or hashtags, or showy placards denouncing injustice. Just because we say it, does not mean it is fixed. It must be led by example, it must be intentionally and rigorously acted upon, and anything less cannot be tolerated.
June 11, 2020
Statement regarding Ohio state Senator Dr. Steve Huffman’s employment with TeamHealth:
“Dr. Huffman’s comments are wholly inconsistent with our values and commitment to creating a tolerant and diverse workplace. TeamHealth has terminated Dr. Huffman’s employment.”
June 2, 2020
Statement from Leif Murphy, President and Chief Executive Officer:
Like many Americans, I have been horrified and saddened by the recent news coverage about the tragic killing of George Floyd by members of law enforcement who are charged with protecting us. The atrocity of this crime merits significant self-reflection and has motivated America to stand up against injustice and voice outrage against discriminating behaviors.
As one of the largest clinician practices in the country, it is our privilege at TeamHealth to administer life-saving care to patients, regardless of color, race, religion, gender, disability, ability to pay and more, and offer comfort to them and their loved ones at their most vulnerable time. Anyone who holds or espouses racist or other dehumanizing views does not align with the values of TeamHealth or the diverse culture that makes us an exceptional place to practice medicine and receive care.
Even within TeamHealth, we have had to confront behavior that has offended our value system and our commitment to ensuring that our company is a place where people want to work. While we will not tolerate discrimination in any setting or context that affects or threatens to affect our workplace, we recognize we need to do more.
Recently, I received the letter below from Khadeja Haye, MD, MBA, FACOG, National Medical Director, Obstetrics and Gynecology. It is a very personal account of how the repeated events of racial discrimination in the last three months have impacted her individually. It is also an appeal for TeamHealth to start a dialogue, examine our approach, and take a leadership role in making the healthcare system better for minorities. Dr. Haye presents a significant challenge that requires a commitment from each one of us – a commitment I know we can make.
We have made good strides over the last year with the establishment of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, revamping our escalation procedures to review behaviors which undermine our culture or the trust of our patients and colleagues and redeveloping our sensitivity training. But now it is time to build the trust of our minority patients and address any inequities in our system – both real and perceived.
We are living in challenging times with the events of the past many weeks weighing heavily on our society and our consciousness. However, I am proud of our commitment to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion and creating a place where all patients, physicians, advanced practice clinicians and associates are treated with dignity and respect, and I am confident in what we can achieve together when we are willing to do what is right, to stand up for justice and to support one another.
Please take the time to consider Dr. Haye’s letter below as I am confident you will find it both enlightening and motivating.
A message from Khadeja Haye, MD, MBA, FACOG, National Medical Director, Obstetrics and Gynecology: My thoughts on the social unrest
I am reaching out to you regarding a matter that is very important to me. I have spent the last several days really trying to process what was going on and how best to articulate it. The repeated examples of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, Christian Cooper all culminating with the video of Gregory Floyd’s murder, all occurred within the last three months. The social unrest that has come to the forefront is a result of the multiple examples of racist sentiments that still exist in our society. As a black woman, a mother of black children, a wife of a black husband, this affects me very personally. My financial and professional advantages have not resulted in any such immunity for me, my family or those I love.
As a healthcare organization that prides itself on delivering quality and compassionate care for all of the patients we serve, we should be concerned about this issue as well. The effects of systemic racism in our society are not just a social issue, it has an impact on the health of those people on the receiving end of this racism. Police brutality should be considered a health concern, similar to our focus on diabetes, hypertension and other disease processes. When a segment of the population is consistently confronted by the stress of the effects of systemic racism it impacts them in a number of ways, including their health. I do believe that implicit bias can influence interactions between providers and their patients. The expression of these implicit biases are not always extreme or overt. It is typically so insidious in nature that it goes unnoticed. I have seen the example in the way it is assumed that a black couple coming in to the hospital to have a baby are not married and the father is referred to as the “baby daddy” or FOB (Father of the Baby), yet for a white couple they address the father as the husband. These biases can result in differences in the care and experience a patient encounters based solely on race.
I see the impact daily in ways those that are not minorities may not understand. I am not expecting the ability to relate, I am asking for a commitment to change. To focus on how we move forward in a way that effects true change and not just kind words or apologies. Can we take a more active approach in addressing this issue from a healthcare perspective? I do not have all of the answers, but it has to start with a dialogue and strategy on how best to approach this. I do realize that I may be more passionate about this due to the personal impact it has on me and all of those people that look like me. I believe we should all consider this as important, just as we do the COVID-19 pandemic. I would hope that our emphasis does not fizzle away and that we can further empower our Diversity and Inclusion Committee to help drive change.
This is a massive issue that requires allies in those that are not minorities and those allies also have to be willing to take the lead. I would ask that our organization consider themselves an ally in addressing systemic racism. Perhaps it can begin by looking at ourselves and how we can improve our care for black people and other minorities.
I appreciate the time you took to consider my words.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is TeamHealth’s policy on discrimination?
TeamHealth will not tolerate any form of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other basis protected by law. TeamHealth strives to provide a work environment that is diverse and free from discrimination.
What training does TeamHealth provide to all employees on discrimination?TeamHealth associates are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct training once a year. This includes guidance with specific examples about how to avoid all forms of harassment in the workplace. In addition, employees will receive diversity and inclusion training that address the importance of our culture of respect and inclusion.
How can a TeamHealth employee report discrimination or hateful expression?TeamHealth associates have a number of ways to report discrimination or hateful expression:
- Associate can talk with their supervisor or leader.
- Associate can contact the HR or Compliance Departments.
- The Compliance Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Associates can remain anonymous if they so desire.
Please fill out this form to learn more about TeamHealth’s diversity and inclusion efforts or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.