Chief Wellness Officer Tom Vaughan, MD

Bayhealth Featured in AMA Article for Medical Staff Wellness Initiative

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 |
Bayhealth is at the forefront of a new movement that is gaining momentum in the medical community nationwide. The American Medical Association (AMA) featured Bayhealth and Chief Wellness Officer Tom Vaughan, MD, in an article about the philosophy behind replacing the term “provider” when referring to physicians and other Medical Staff, and steps being taken to modify this language in processes used across the health system.

The AMA article titled, “This health system says calling physicians ‘providers’ is not OK” describes the history and association with use of the word to describe Medicare-eligible entities among the government and commercial insurance industry. It describes how many feel the term belittles medicine as being transactional, instead of a relationship between a physician and patient.

“We’re among a growing group of respected healthcare associations and organizations who have adopted the same viewpoint—American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, Harvard Medical School, and the Mayo Clinic to name a few,” explained Dr. Vaughan. He describes it as a small step among many that can help toward the goal of reducing the increasing level of physician burnout.

“It’s an honor to be spotlighted by the AMA for our efforts,” Dr. Vaughan said. “More importantly, we’re focusing on what matters to our team members to boost their morale and hopefully over time, we can change the culture.”

Two years ago Bayhealth was proud to be one of only 44 health systems nationwide named to the AMA’s Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program in recognition of its Medical Staff Wellness program. While physicians in particular have been instrumental in the push to stop using “provider” wording, this initiative in just one example of numerous measures Bayhealth has taken to further foster a culture of respect and inclusivity for all staff across the board, said Dr. Vaughan.

Since Bayhealth welcomed Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Debbie Smith, MBA, in early 2023, she has been developing a DEI roadmap that aligns with the organization’s strategic plan. The goal is to cultivate an inclusive culture of respect that celebrates the unique differences of our workforce and the communities that we serve.

“As we continue to forge a path in creating a culture of DEI at Bayhealth, I am proud that we are taking the lead with this initiative of creating an inclusive culture where all team members feel valued, respected and heard,” expressed Smith. “Our commitment runs deep, and it starts with listening to all of our teammates and having those courageous conversations. I am excited to be a part of the DEI journey at Bayhealth.”

Visit the AMA Press Center online at to view their full article.

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